By a vote of 62-37 on Wednesday, a bill to preserve same-sex marriages over a significant procedural hurdle with the support of 12 Republican senators.
According to The Washington Post, the measure mandates that marriages legitimate under the laws of any state be recognized as such by all other states.
The measure repeals the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which established that marriage is between one man and one woman and permitted states to refuse weddings that other states deemed legal. In 2015, the Supreme Court declared in Obergefell v. Hodges that the statute was unconstitutional, although it stayed on the books.
The 12 Senate Republicans who supported the bill, according to The Hill, are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Todd Young of Indiana, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mitt Romney of Utah.
ABC reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the Republicans who opposed the bill.
The Post reported that several churches and religious organizations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, supported the bill.
“The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related to marriage between a man and a woman is well known and will remain unchanged,” it said in a statement.
“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,” the statement said.
The first version of the law cleared the House in the summer with the support of 47 Republicans, according to The New York Times.
The Senate must still vote to approve the modified measure. The measure is then sent back to the House for ratification of the Senate’s amendments. The document will next be sent to President Biden, who has indicated that he will sign it.
The rule was enacted after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said in the opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade that the 2015 decision allowing homosexual marriage should also be reconsidered.
Some have suggested that the legislation is unnecessary.
“I don’t know why we’re doing that bill; there’s no threat to its status in America,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said, according to the Times. “I know plenty of gay people in Florida that are pissed off about gas prices.”
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said the bill was an attempt to scare Americans “that somehow that decision by the Supreme Court is in jeopardy,” the Times reported. “I don’t believe it is.”
A Senate amendment to the bill ensured that churches, universities, and other non-profit religious organizations would not be punished for refusing to recognize same-sex marriages and that churches would not be required to marry same-sex couples.
According to ABC, the law encompasses both interracial and same-sex marriages.