Senate advances Respect for Marriage Act in bipartisan 62-37 vote

Posted 75 days ago

From WWW.CBSNEWS.COM

Washington — The Senate on Wednesday advanced legislation that would provide federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, endorsing the measure in a bipartisan vote that moves it closer to becoming law.

The 62 to 37 vote was a crucial test of support for the bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act. With the backing of 12 Republican members, the Senate easily cleared the 60-vote procedural hurdle needed to move the legislation forward. Drafters of the plan were optimistic it would garner enough backing from the GOP after a bipartisan group of senators made changes to the bill to protect religious liberty.

The Republicans who voted to advance the bill are:

Shortly after the five senators involved in negotiations over the legislation unveiled their amendment Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved to set up Wednesday's procedural vote. Clearing the 60-vote threshold allows debate to start on the measure and puts the legislation closer to final passage.

"Today, the Senate is taking a truly bold step forward in the march toward greater justice, greater equality, by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act," Schumer said in a speech from the Senate floor before the vote. "It's a simple, narrowly tailored but exceedingly important piece of legislation that will do so much good for so many Americans. It will make our country a better, fairer place to live."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who was among the group of Senate negotiators, highlighted the broad public support for same-sex marriage and noted that for most Americans, marriage equality is a settled question.

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