Nov 16, 2022
A law that would codify federal protections for same-sex marriages cleared a procedural hurdle in the U.S Senate on Wednesday, overcoming the 60-vote filibuster threshold and setting the stage for approval.
Senators voted 62-37 in favor of ending debate on the Respect for Marriage Act and advancing it to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Twelve Republicans joined the Democratic caucus in support of the bill.
The marriage equality legislation comes months after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sparked outrage over his Dobbs v. Jackson concurring opinion that suggested the reversal of the 2015 landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision--which recognizes same-sex unions--while also attacking precedents that protect the rights to contraception and interracial marriage.
\u201cMaybe just maybe, the Supreme Court should realize they have no business telling anyone who they can and can't love and marry. I was proud to cast my vote today to finally make marriage equality \u2013 including same-sex and interracial marriages \u2013 the long overdue law of the land.\u201d— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders) 1668638059
"The right to marry the person you love shouldn't be up for debate," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted. "But Justice Clarence Thomas warned that he'd put it at risk--so the Senate is taking action to protect marriage equality no matter what the Supreme Court does. We're going to get this done."
Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), who is one of nine openly gay members of the U.S. House, previously denounced Thomas' remarks on the chamber floor and called on the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act on Wednesday.
\u201cA few months ago, I took to the House floor to urge my colleagues to join me in the fight to protect LGBTQ+ rights from the far-right Supreme Court. \n\nNow we\u2019re on the verge of winning. It\u2019s time for the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.\n\nhttps://t.co/cRAnIaoEnl\u201d— Mondaire Jones (@Mondaire Jones) 1668610568
The House approved the Respect for Marriage Act in July. However, if it passes the Senate with a bipartisan amendment, it will have to return to the House for another vote before it goes to President Joe Biden's desk.
After the Senate vote Wednesday, Biden said he would "promptly sign it into law."
"Love is love and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love," Biden tweeted. "Today's bipartisan Senate vote gets us closer to protecting that right. The Respect for Marriage Act protects all couples under law--I urge Congress to send the bill to my desk so I can make it law."
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