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Monday, December 09, 2019

Civil Rights & Liberties

Sen, Chuck Schumer


By Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Top Senate Democrats and Republicans said on Wednesday they may have the votes to pass a bill protecting same-sex marriage rights nationwide, the day after the measure passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan majority.

The measure, intended to head off any Supreme Court effort to roll back gay marriage rights, passed the House on Tuesday with all Democrats and 47 Republican representatives - just over a fifth of their caucus - voting in favor.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday said he was "really impressed by how much bipartisan support it got in the House."

When the Supreme Court last month struck down its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling protecting the right to abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should also reconsider its past rulings that guaranteed access to contraception and the right to gay marriage because they relied on the same legal arguments as Roe.

Under Senate rules, Schumer would need at least 10 Republicans in favor to pass the bill in the 50-50 Senate.

Senator John Thune, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican, said he believed a bill codifying gay marriage could receive enough Republican support to pass.

"I wouldn’t be surprised. We haven't assessed that at all, yet," he told reporters when asked if 10 Republicans could back such legislation. "But as a general matter, I think that is something people in the country have come to accept."

Republican Senator Ted Cruz said on Saturday that the Supreme Court was "clearly wrong" in establishing a federal right to gay marriage. Senator Lindsey Graham said he would not support a bill codifying same sex marriage.

Several other Republicans have said they could support the bill. Senator Susan Collins co-sponsored a Senate version of the House bill. Senator Thom Tillis told CNN on Wednesday that he would "probably" vote in favor.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton, additional reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)

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By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of Americans hold a negative opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court following its decision last week to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that recognized a right to abortion, says a Reuters/Ipsos survey completed on Tuesday.

The two-day public opinion poll found 57 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of the U.S. top court, while 43 percent viewed it favorably. That puts approval of the court, which is meant to be a nonpartisan entity, on a par with Americans' views of Congress, which has long been viewed negatively.

It also marks a significant shift from a June 6-7 Reuters/Ipsos poll that showed 48 percent had an unfavorable view and 52 percent a favorable view.

Some 27 percent of respondents had a very unfavorable view of the court, up from 14 percent who held that view earlier in the month.

The reversal was almost entirely because of increasingly dismal views of the court among Democrats, often more supportive of abortion rights than Republicans are.

Sixty percent of Democrats said they had a less favorable view of the Supreme Court than they had six months ago, compared to 23 percent of Republicans.

The conservative-dominated Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling recognizing women's constitutional right to abortion. The decision, hailed by conservative activists as a great victory, will dramatically change life for millions of women in America.

In a concurring opinion on Friday, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush, suggested that the same reasoning that led the court to overturn Roe could be used to rethink other rights, such as same-sex marriage and access to birth control.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has condemned the ruling. Democratic lawmakers hope the abortion rights setback will help drive Democrats to the polls in the November 8 midterm elections, when Republicans have good odds of winning control of one or both congressional chambers.

Some 55 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a separate Ipsos poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday.

Both polls were conducted online in English throughout the United States. Each gathered responses from 1,005 adults and had a credibility interval - a measure of precision - of four percentage points.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)