The US Senate passed a bipartisan bill to federally protect same-sex and interracial marriages on Nov. 29. The ‘Respect for marriage act’ passed 61 yes to 36 no, with unanimous support from Democrats and 12 votes from Republicans.
The provision now returns to the House which should approve it by the end of the year, perhaps as early as next week, before being signed by President Biden. “Today, after months of hard work … we are taking the important step towards greater justice for LGBTQ Americans,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Same-sex marriage has been seen as under threat since June, when the conservative-dominated supreme court struck down abortion rights. Marriage rights advocates and Democrats have since expressed concern that the reversal could challenge other civil liberties decisions, including marriage equality.
The Respect for Marriage Act bill would require all states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed in any other state. Even interracial marriagesi would be protected, with states required to recognize legal marriage regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
There are approximately 568,000 same-sex married couples living in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau.