US Senate advances protections for same-sex marriages in latest vote, with 62 for and 37 Republicans against

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US Senate advances bill affording protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in latest vote


Legislation to codify the rights of same-sex and interracial married couples into US federal law has cleared its latest hurdle after senators voted 62-37, on Wednesday (November 16), to advance the Respect for Marriage Act.


The result surpassed the 60-vote filibuster threshold required to pass most legislation in the upper chamber of Congress.

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Twelve Republicans voted with the senate’s 50 Democrats to advance the legislation, meaning a final vote could come as soon as this week, or later this month.


Per NBC News, the Republicans who voted with Democrats to advance the legislation were: Sens. Roy Blunt, of Missouri; Richard Burr, of North Carolina; Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia; Joni Ernst, of Iowa; Cynthia Lummis, of Wyoming; Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska; Rob Portman, of Ohio; Dan Sullivan, of Alaska; Mitt Romney, of Utah; Thom Tillis, of North Carolina; and Todd Young, of Indiana.


It’s also worth noting that, although this is a hopeful result, nothing is yet secured and 37 Republicans still voted AGAINST equal marriage protections for same-sex and interracial couples


Following the vote, senate majority leader Chuck Schumer commented that ensuring both same-sex and interracial unions are legally recognized under the law is an opportunity for the Senate to “live up to its highest ideals”.


“It will make our country a better, fairer place to live,” Schumer said, adding that his own daughter and her wife are expecting a baby next year.



The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which allowed states to refuse to recognise civil marriages of same-sex couples and prohibit all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, from federal benefits and protections.

That law was effectively nullified by two landmark Supreme Court decisions: Windsor v United States in 2013 and Obergefell v Hodges in 2015.


It has been a tense and crucially important time for legislative rights in the US, as the vote follows the US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade earlier this year.

The right to safe abortion access (RvW) had previously been considered a ‘super-precedent’, meaning it was widely understood to be beyond repeal. However, in June, constitutional protections for the right to an abortion were reversed, raising legitimate fears among LGBTQ+ and civil rights groups that marriage equality would be next

Should the bill pass final procedural hurdles in Congress, it would be sent to the desk of President Joe Biden to be signed into law. 


A final vote on the bill could come as early as Thursday.