(CMR) The US Senate on Wednesday advanced legislation toward historic passage of a bipartisan bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, voting 62-37.
In the 62-37 vote, 12 Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the bill after negotiators reached a bipartisan deal to include protections for religious liberty. The vote on final passage could occur as soon as this week.
The bill will not set a national requirement that all states to legalize same-sex marriage; however, it would require individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage. So, if a state bans same-sex marriage, that state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told CNN he wants his chamber’s bill to pass by Thursday before senators leave for their Thanksgiving recess all next week. However, without an agreement to speed up passage of the bill which needs consent from all 100 senators, final passage will likely occur after the Senate returns from Thanksgiving recess.
The Respect for Marriage Act would “require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.”
The bill would not require any state to issue marriage licenses contrary to its laws but would mandate that states recognize lawfully granted marriages performed in other states, including same-sex and interracial unions.
This bill comes after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas overturned Roe. v. Wade this summer, in which he said the court “should reconsider” the case granting the nationwide right to gay marriage.