NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee’s Republican Senators Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn tried Wednesday to block a bill that would make same-sex marriage and interracial marriage federal law.
Yet, the bill moved forward with bi-partisan support.
The “Respect for Marriage” Act moved toward a final vote with the support of 12 republicans.
The main sponsor of the bill is the first openly gay member of the senate — Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin.
She says millions of Americans are living in fear.
“Scared that the rights they rely upon to protect their families could be taken away,” Sen. Baldwin said.
The bill would ensure same-sex and interracial marriages are legally recognized in case the Supreme Court overturns its precedents.
Here in Tennessee, a poll last year found 54% of Tennesseans support same-sex marriage, while 42% oppose it.
Democrats hope to get this bill passed before republicans take control with representatives like Andy Ogles.
“It’s time that we push those back to the states and so the states can choose,” Ogles told News 2 in a prior interview.
Chris Sanders, Executive Director of the Tennessee Equality Project, says there are a number of issues that face Tennessee’s LGBTQ community.
“We don’t want any attack on marriage equality to pass at any level, but this bill at the federal level would at least might be some option if the state tried to take our right to marry away,” Sanders said.
The offices of Senators Blackburn and Hagerty did not respond to a request for comment about their votes.
The bill could be up for a final vote in the Senate by the end of the week before going back to the house.