US Senate to vote on historic same-sex marriage bill for final time

Collage of the US Capitol building with a Progress Pride flag

The Senate will vote on a revised version of the Respect for Marriage Act later today.

The bill, which will protect same-sex and interracial marriage, is reaching its final stages after the Senate agreed on Monday (28 November) to allow votes on amendments. 

It was originally passed by the House of Representatives – the lower chamber of the United States Congress – in July, before a majority-vote in the Senate earlier this month took up the bill. 
There are three amendments to be voted on, each aimed at protecting religious liberty – all sought by Republicans. A final passage vote is expected to take place immediately after.

Senators will vote on Tuesday (29 November), as reported by The Hill.

The bill will then return to the House after Tuesday for another vote, where it is expected to easily pass.

It will then go to president Joe Biden to be signed into law. 

On the Senate floor on Monday, Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said the Respect for Marriage Act was necessary. 

“We all know that for all the progress that we’ve made on same-sex marriage, the rights of all married couples will never truly be safe without the proper protections under federal law.” 

It was notable the Senate was even having a debate on the matter, Schumer said. 

“A decade ago, it would’ve strained all of our imaginations to envision both sides talking about protecting the rights of same-sex married couples.

“America does move forward, although in sometimes difficult ways,” he said. 

In a tweet after Monday’s agreement, Schumer said: “No matter who you are or who you love, you deserve dignity and equal treatment under law.”

When the Senate voted for the bill before the amendments, Biden urged Congress to hurry it to his desk. 

“Love is love and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” he tweeted. 

While the Democrats maintained control of the Senate in the recent mid-term elections, control of the House was flipped to the Republicans. 

Republican control of the House doesn’t come into effect until next year, but a number of politicians have already introduced anti-LGBTQ+ bills this year. 

Legislation is shaped by committees before going to votes in the House and Senate.

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