WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, one of a bipartisan group of senators trying to mold a bill that would codify same-sex and interracial marriage, said the group asked for a little more time.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) responded to the request by delaying a vote on this proposed legislation until after the midterm elections on Nov. 8.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, Pool)

Tillis’s staff issued a statement jointly with those of Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) that explained why they were seeking more time.

“The Respect for Marriage Act is a simple but important step which provides certainty to millions of Americans in loving marriages,” their statement said. “Through bipartisan collaboration, we’ve crafted commonsense language that respects religious liberty and Americans’ diverse beliefs, while upholding our view that marriage embodies the highest ideals of love, devotion, and family.

“We’ve asked Leader Schumer for additional time, and we appreciate he has agreed. We are confident that when our legislation comes to the Senate floor for a vote, we will have the bipartisan support to pass the bill.”

Schumer had said last week he was hoping to have a vote on the bill as early as this week. “We all want to pass this quickly,” Schumer said last week. “I hope there will be 10 Republicans to support it.”

The group led by Tillis and Baldwin has been working to find those votes, which would avoid a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate. That means 60 votes total.

“I think the momentum is going in the right direction,” Baldwin told the AP after their group met last week.

In July, Tillis and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) were among the first to say they could support same-sex marriage, which some Republicans have vowed to fight.

Tillis (R-North Carolina) told CNN then that he “probably will” vote for a same-sex marriage bill when it arrives in the Senate.

This bill – and actions in the House about abortion rights and access to contraception – emerged because of the recent Supreme Court rulings that stripped abortion rights protected by Roe v. Wade.

In concurring with that opinion, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the court should review decisions that authorized same-sex marriage and a woman’s access to contraception.

The House passed a bill that would recognize such unions on a federal level. There were 47 Republicans who voted in support of that bill, but none of those representing North Carolina did so.

U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop

The only one of them to speak about that vote was Rep. Dan Bishop (R-Charlotte), who this November is running in the 8th District that includes Davidson and Montgomery counties.

“This bill is an attack on Americans who hold the view that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Bishop said, “continuing a long trend of Democrats’ attacks on conservative and religious Americans, whom they view as ‘deplorables.’”

A Gallup poll from 2021 found that about 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage, which the Supreme Court reinforced in 2015 (with Thomas on the court) in Obergefell v. Hodges. Gallup said that support was up from about 27% in 1996. The 2021 poll also showed that 55% of Republicans supported the idea.