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



The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage, called the Respect for Marriage Act, in a landmark bipartisan vote.

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

The House must now pass the legislation before it is sent to President Joe Biden’s office to be signed into law. The House is expected to pass the bill before the end of the year — possibly as early as next week.

“For millions of Americans, this legislation will protect 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, calling it a “two-pronged achievement.”

While the bill would not make a national requirement that all states legalize same-sex marriage, it would require individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage.

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

The legislation cleared a major procedural hurdle earlier this month, when the Senate voted 62 to 37 to break a filibuster.

The bipartisan group, which includes Republican senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, said in a statement earlier that they were “looking forward to” legislation will be discussed.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer credited those five senators during a speech on the floor Tuesday morning for their “outstanding and relentless work” on this landmark legislation.

“For millions and millions of Americans today is a very good day,” he said. “An important day. A day that has been long overdue.”

In a sign of how much support has grown for same-sex marriage in recent years, the bill found support from GOP senators, including those in scarlet states.

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

“That’s why we’re called the state of equality,” she added.

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

“While I believe in traditional marriage, Obergefell has been and will continue to be the law of the land that LGBTQ individuals have relied on,” Romney said in a statement. “This legislation provides security to many LGBTQ Americans, and it indicates that Congress — and I — equally value and love all of our fellow Americans.”

This story and headline were updated on Tuesday with additional developments.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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