A bill that seeks to protect same-sex
marriage cleared the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
The Respect for Marriage Act was
approved with a 61-36 vote.
The bill seeks to codify the Supreme
Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell that struck down laws and
constitutional amendments that defined marriage as a heterosexual
union, ushering in nationwide marriage equality. It would strengthen
protections on a federal level and require states to recognize all
legal out-of-state marriages.
The legislation cleared the House with
the support of 47 Republicans over the summer but changes in the
Senate means that it must return to the lower chamber before heading
to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature.
Democrats, who lost control of the
House in the midterms, are expected to move quickly while they remain
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, called Tuesday's vote
“Today love won,” HRC President
Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “This is a historic day,
marking a much-needed victory for our community. The LGBTQ+ community
has faced ongoing deadly violence, legislative assaults and constant
threats – including the deadly shooting in Colorado Springs barely
one week ago. Today, with the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act
in the Senate – a historic moment that marks the first federal
legislative win for LGBTQ+ equality in over ten years, since the
repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – the 568,000 same-sex married
couples in this country can breathe a sigh of relief that their
marriages will be protected from future attacks.”
Robinson added that GOP support for the
legislation proves that “marriage equality enjoys growing
bipartisan backing, is supported by a wide swath of the American
people and is not going anywhere.”
Democrats reintroduced the legislation
after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June,
pointing out that both decisions were based on the right to privacy.
Three GOP amendments which sought to
protect the rights of religious institutions and others opposed to
same-sex marriage were rejected by the Senate.