US Senate votes to advance act protecting same-sex marriage
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US Senate votes to advance act protecting same-sex marriage

The US Senate Wednesday passed a procedural vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect same-sex marriage in the US. The act would repeal a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and would recognize any marriage valid under state law.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the act in the US House of Representatives in July. The House passed the act by a vote of 267-157 in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ruled that there is no constitutional right to abortion. The act was then sent to the US Senate.

The Senate’s cloture motion brings a close to debate on the act before the Senate. The motion passed 62-37 and included Republican support. The motion only needed 60 votes to pass.

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal a portion of DOMA, which allows states to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, and was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in US v. Windsor. DOMA defines marriage as only between and man and a woman and does not recognize same-sex marriages. The Respect of Marriage Act aims to ensure that individuals retain their right to marriage even if the Supreme Court repeals Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that struck down laws banning same-sex marriage.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement in response to the act stating:

We are grateful for the continuing efforts of those who work to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act includes appropriate religious freedom protections while respecting the law and preserving the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. We believe this approach is the way forward. As we work together to preserve the principles and practices of religious freedom together with the rights of LGBTQ individuals, much can be accomplished to heal relationships and foster greater understanding.

The act states that no state can deny any individual the right to marry based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. It also provides that should any state refuse to recognize same-sex or interracial marriages, the Department of Justice is authorized to pursue civil action against them. The act would recognize any marriage valid in the state where the marriage was entered.