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

Senate passes bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in landmark vote
Washington — The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to protect 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 will now need to approve the legislation before sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed 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 safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday evening after Senate passage, hailing it as a “bipartisan achievement.”

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

So, in the event the Supreme Court might overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized 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 from another state.

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

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