The US Senate has developed legislation that provides federal protection for same-sex and interracial marriage, according to reports CBS News.
The Senate voted 62-37 in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, crossing party lines with the support of 12 Republicans and surpassing the 60-vote threshold needed to advance the legislation. Clearing the threshold allows the debate on the measure to begin, bringing it closer to final passage.
“Today, the Senate is taking a really bold step forward in the march toward greater justice and equality by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement from the Senate floor before the vote. “This is a simple, narrowly focused, but extremely important piece of legislation that will benefit so many Americans. It will make our country a better and fairer place to live.”
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the Clinton Administration’s Defense of Marriage Act, which federally protects same-sex and interracial marriages by requiring the recognition of valid marriages regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin. The bill was introduced after the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade amid concerns that the court’s decision left the right to same-sex marriage in jeopardy. Respect for Marriage Act passed in the Chamber in July.
While the bill’s passage effectively codifies same-sex marriage into law, the bill includes an amendment to ensure that non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide services, funds or goods in support of same-sex marriage. It also protects religious freedom and other protections available under the Constitution and federal law, such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and makes it clear that the federal government has no right to recognize polygamous marriage.
With the amendment, the bill will again have to be considered by the House of Representatives before going to President Biden to be signed into law.