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WASHINGTON ― The Senate will vote soon on legislation protecting same-sex marriages, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Wednesday.

“We all want to pass this quickly ... a vote on marriage equality will happen on the Senate floor in the coming weeks,” Schumer said in a weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.

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The House has already passed a bill protecting same-sex marriage with the support of 47 Republicans. Supporters of the legislation are trying to round up enough support for the bill in the Senate.

A bipartisan group of senators met this week to discuss changes to the legislation to address some Republicans’ concerns that it would stifle religious liberty.

The group is also considering changes that would make it “very clear that marriage is between two individuals” for those “who have raised the issue of that it could somehow lead to federal recommendation of polygamous relationships even though no states allow for such marriages,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters on Wednesday.

Only four Republican senators have expressed public support for the bill: Collins, Rob Portman (Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Thom Tillis (North Carolina).

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Other GOP senators have either declined to take a position or dodged the matter by calling it unnecessary, maintaining that there is no active threat to same-sex marriage right now.

“This is just Democrats opening up a wound that doesn’t need to be opened up. And now that I’ve talked to people, there are some very serious concerns on religious liberty,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said Wednesday.

The Supreme Court opinion in June revoking abortion rights raised concerns that the court’s conservative majority might go even further by reversing its 5-4 opinion guaranteeing marriage equality. In his concurring opinion in the abortion case, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should also reconsider other cases that rest on the right to privacy — specifically those protecting contraception access and same-sex relationships.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), the main Democratic sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, said she is confident the bill will pass.

“I think momentum is going in the right direction,” she said.

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Igor Bobic - Senior Politics Reporter, HuffPost

Igor Bobic

Senior Politics Reporter, HuffPost

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