The Senate is scheduled to “resume consideration” of the Respect for Marriage Act, a law which would codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriage, on Monday.
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Earlier this month, all 50 Democratic senators and 12 Republicans voted to advance the bill in the chamber, putting it above the vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster.
Multiple forms of the Respect for Marriage Act have been submitted in the past decade. This most recent version, a bipartisan effort, was proposed following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. At the time, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a statement declaring that the rationale used in that decision could be used to reconsider other landmark cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed marriage equality.
The Senate is expected to approve the bill sometime this week.
Although the Respect for Marriage Act would codify marriage rights, it does allow for certain exemptions as a way of gaining support among Republicans. Non-profit religious organizations would not be required to provide services for same-sex marriages, nor will they risk their tax-exemption eligibility for refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.
The bill is considered by many proponents of same-sex marriage rights to be a step in the right direction, despite these exemptions.
“The Respect for Marriage Act will repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and ensure that legally married same-sex and interracial couples are entitled to the same protections and recognition from the federal government as all other married couples; and that those marriages will be respected in other states regardless of where a married couple lives or travels,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement following the bill’s advancement earlier this month.
She also said that “Any Senator who votes against this bill is casting a vote that harms LGBTQ Americans and is out of touch with a bipartisan supermajority of Americans who support the freedom to marry.”
NPR reports that over 70% of Americans, including 83% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans, now approve of same-sex marriage.