US Senate votes to protect same-sex marriage
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The Respect for Marriage Act received bipartisan support. It is designed as a backstop should the Supreme Court move to overturn its 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
The US Senate voted to protect same-sex and interracial marriages on Tuesday, in a move aimed at preventing any roll-back of existing marriage laws.
The Respect for Marriage Act passed 61-36, which included support from 12 Republicans. It will now move back to the House for a final vote.
In a statement on Tuesday, President Joe Biden said, "With today's bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love."
Senate leader Chuck Schumer said the vote was "deeply personal for many of us in this chamber."
He addressed the Senate wearing the same tie he wore at his lesbian daughter's wedding.
Why are US lawmakers voting on same-sex marriage?
Same-sex marriage and interracial marriages are already legal in the US thanks to Supreme Court rulings from 2015 and 1967, respectively.
However, when the conservative-dominated Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion in June this year, the possibility that the rulings relating to marriage could also be overturned opened up as well.
The new bill will remove the previous legal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman. It would also require states to recognize marriages regardless of "sex, race, ethnicity or national origin."
Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin said the bill would give "millions of same sex and interracial couples the confidence and certainty that they need that their marriages are and will in the future continue to be valid."
Baldwin is one of the key negotiators of the bill, and the first openly gay person elected to the US Senate.
Source: zc/ar (AP, Reuters, AFP)