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Biden praises Senate vote to advance same-sex marriage bill

President Biden on Wednesday celebrated a Senate vote to advance legislation that would codify same-sex marriage protections, and he urged Congress to send the final bill to his desk for his signature.

“Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” Biden said in a statement. “Today’s bipartisan vote brings the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law.”

The Senate on Wednesday voted 62-37 to advance the Respect for Marriage Act, with 12 Republicans joining with every Democrat in support. Lawmakers are expected to vote again on Thursday to invoke cloture, potentially setting up a final vote by the end of the week. 

Biden argued that passage of the bill will ensure protections for LGBTQ and interracial couples under federal law. Democrats had expressed concern in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that reversed abortion protections under Roe v. Wade that the court would next look to overturn decisions that guaranteed the right to same-sex or interracial marriage.

“I want to thank the Members of Congress whose leadership has sent a strong message that Republicans and Democrats can work together to secure the fundamental right of Americans to marry the person they love,” Biden said. “I urge Congress to quickly send this bill to my desk where I will promptly sign it into law.”

The bill includes protections for nonprofit religious organizations from providing services in support of same-sex marriage, as well as religious liberty and conscience protections under the Constitution and federal law. It would also ensure that the federal government does not recognize polygamous marriage.

The religious exemptions were key to winning over enough GOP votes to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.