The U.S. Senate is poised to pass legislation that would codify same-sex marriage protections.
The Respect for Marriage Act earned 62 votes on Wednesday, which was needed to bypass a filibuster. Twelve Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in voting for the bill.
The bill will be debated before a final vote is taken. If the Senate passes the bill, which is now expected, it will have to go to the House for a vote before President Joe Biden can sign it into law.
The senators who crafted the bill said they used "commonsense language to confirm that this legislation fully respects and protects Americans’ religious liberties and diverse beliefs, while leaving intact the core mission of the legislation to protect marriage equality."
Congress has been moving to protect same-sex marriage as support from the general public — and from Republicans in particular — has sharply grown in recent years, as the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Recent polling has found more than two-thirds of the public supports same-sex unions.
The legislation would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed.
The new Respect for Marriage Act would also protect interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin."