The House on Thursday approved a bill granting federal protections to same-sex and interracial marriages.
The Respect for Marriage Act originally passed in the House this summer. It was then sent to the Senate, which approved a revised version of the bill in November. Because the bill had been modified since its initial approval in the House, it was sent back to the chamber for a subsequent vote.
The bill now goes to President Biden, who has promised to sign it into law.
GO reported this story on Nov. 30, after the Senate voted to approve the Respect for Marriage Act. The original story appears below.
The Senate has approved a bill that would grant federal protection to same-sex and interracial marriages.
The Respect for Marriage Act passed in the chamber by a vote of 61 to 36. Twelve Republicans joined the full Democratic caucus by voting in favor of the legislation. The bill, a bipartisan effort to secure marriage rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, will grant federal protections to both same-sex and interracial marriage.
“Today, an overwhelming majority of Senators stepped up to protect the freedoms and rights of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriages. I’m proud to have worked across the aisle to get the job done for millions of loving couples in Wisconsin and across the country,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), one of the bill’s sponsors, in a statement following the bill’s passage.
“This legislation will protect the hard-fought progress we’ve made on marriage equality and I look forward to the Respect for Marriage Act becoming the law of the land,” she added.
While the legislation will ensure that the federal government recognizes same-sex and interracial marriages, it does allow for certain exemptions, made to gain Republican support. Non-profit religious organizations will not be required to provide services for same-sex marriages.
And while individual states would still be allowed to ban same-sex marriages should the Supreme Court overturn the decision made in Obergefell v. Hodges – as Justice Clarence Thomas indicated that it might do – these states would have to recognize marriages performed in states where same-sex marriage is permitted.
The bill now returns to the House, where an earlier version passed with bipartisan support in July, for another round of voting. It’s expected to again pass in the Democratic-controlled chamber and then go to President Biden, who has promised to sign it into law “promptly and proudly.”