by Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation to enshrine same-sex marriage and interracial marriage protections in federal law. 

The legislation called the Respect for Marriage Act, passed with the full support of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans, with a final vote of 61-36. The legislation will to the House of Representatives for a final vote. 

“For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday evening after Senate passage, hailing it as a “bipartisan achievement.”

The legislation would not force any state to allow same-sex couples to marry. It would require all states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed, and protect current same-sex unions if the court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision were to be overturned. 

This legislation will guarantee the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriages in the federal code for same-sex couples; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirm that public acts, records, and proceedings should be recognized by all states. It also codifies the same rights for interracial couples. 

“Today love won. This is a historic day, marking a much-needed victory for our community. The LGBTQ+ community has faced ongoing deadly violence, legislative assaults, and constant threats – including the deadly shooting in Colorado Springs barely one week ago. Today, with the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the Senate — a historic moment that marks the first federal legislative win for LGBTQ+ equality in over ten years, since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — the 568,000 same-sex married couples in this country can breathe a sigh of relief that their marriages will be protected from future attacks,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. 

According to the latest survey from Gallup, seven in ten Americans support legal same-sex marriage–a new high in Gallup’s trend since 1996. . This latest figure marks an increase of 10 percentage points since 2015 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages. 

“​​We are closing this discriminatory chapter of our history — marriage equality is here to stay. And this is just the beginning — we have more work to do to fight with and for our transgender community, our BIPOC community, and our youngest community members with the same passion and energy that we brought to the fight for marriage equality,” Robinson said. 

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