Senate passes landmark vote to protect same-sex and interracial marriage


The Senate passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriages, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, in a landmark bipartisan vote Tuesday.

The final vote was 61-36. The bill was backed by all members of the Democratic caucus and the 12 Republicans who backed the bill for a procedural vote earlier this month.

The House now needs to approve the legislation before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to sign into law. The House is expected to pass the bill before the end of the year — possibly as soon as next week.

“For millions of Americans, this legislation will guarantee the rights and protections that LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled to,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday night after Senate passage, praising the A “bipartisan achievement”.

While the bill would not require all states to legalize same-sex marriage, it would require states to recognize legal marriages in another state.

So if the Supreme Court might overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing same-sex marriage, a state could still pass a law banning same-sex marriage, but that state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

Earlier this month, the Senate voted 62 to 37 to pass the filibuster, which cleared a key procedural hurdle.

A bipartisan group that includes Republican senators. Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine and Tom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic senators. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona previously said in a statement that they looked forward to “the implementation of this legislation.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised the five senators for their “outstanding and tireless work” on the landmark legislation in a statement Tuesday morning.

“Today is a very good day for millions of Americans,” he said. “Big day. A long-awaited day.”

The bill has the support of Republican senators, an indication of how much support for same-sex marriage has grown in recent years.

Republican Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told CNN’s Manu Raju earlier this month that since she read to reporters “Wyoming Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, which includes an anti-discrimination clause, and she voted to advance the same-sex marriage bill in the Senate.

“That’s why we’re called a nation of egalitarians,” she added.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, meanwhile, said “the bill makes sense” and “provides important religious freedom protections.”

“While I believe in traditional marriage, Obergefell has always been the law of the land that LGBTQ individuals have come to rely on,” Romney said in a statement. “This legislation provides certainty to many LGBTQ Americans, and it demonstrates that Congress — and I — equally respect and love all of our fellow Americans.”

This story and headline have been updated on Tuesday with more developments.

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