A bill to overturn the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage cleared a key hurdle in the Senate Thursday. But the prospects of it becoming law are dim.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to report to the full Senate legislation repealing the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. The Respect for Marriage Act, which is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), garnered no support from committee Republicans, who expressed doubts about the likelihood that the bill would clear the full Senate, let alone the Republican-controlled House.
“I obviously think we should be spending our time now on bills that can pass, and bills that can help solve some of the serious employment, budget and financial problems that are facing our country,” said Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel.
It is unclear when or if the bill will receive consideration on the Senate floor.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said it is “very difficult” to make a prediction on when the measure may come to the floor, citing past Republican filibusters.
Committee Democrats acknowledged that they are waging a tough battle to make the bill law. But they said they are willing to fight for the legislation.
“If this is called on the floor and only the 30 cosponsors vote for it, it’s worth the effort,” Durbin said.
In the House, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced companion legislation on March 16. But the bill is unlikely to advance.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hired Bancroft's Paul Clement for $1.5 million to defend DOMA after President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said they would no longer advocate for the law in court.