While the U.S. Senate Democrats have agreed to delay voting on a bill that seeks to codify the mandatory recognition of same-sex “marriage” across the nation, all eyes are on left-of-center Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The so called “Respect for Marriage Act” passed the House in July with 47 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had hoped to get the controversial legislation through the evenly divided Senate this month, but he did not have a at least 10 Republicans that would side with Democrats to pass it in the evenly divided Senate. Without 10 Republicans, the bill cannot overcome a filibuster.

On Thursday, Democrats agreed to wait until after the midterms to bring the measure to a vote.

Murkowski has long-supported same-sex marriage and is viewed as one of the Republicans who may abandon her fellow Republicans in order to pass the bill. Murkowski, however, is facing a challenge from conservative candidate Kelly Tshibaka. Recent polls show they are deadlocked.

The bill is being proposed out of concern that the U.S. Supreme Court may one day overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which imposed gay marriage across the nation. If the court ever did strike down Obergefell, then each state would again be free to limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman.

Although it has not been enforced since 2015, Alaska’s Constitution still affirms marriage as the union of a man and woman.

If passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden, the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the longstanding (but unenforced) federal Defense of Marriage Act, which affirms that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The federal law protects states’ rights to have similar laws.

The Democrat’s proposed law would also require the federal government to recognize “marriages” performed by any state and would force all other states to recognize those marriages as well. While states would only have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, the Democratic bill would mandate that the federal government recognize any new “union” a state develops, including marriages of more than two people.

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Murkowski seen as critical in Democratic plan to codify gay marriage after midterms

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.