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Senate moves to protect same-sex and interracial marriages; House votes next

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The Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to protect same-sex marriages. It's an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The bill approved Tuesday would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation is “a long time coming” and part of America’s “difficult but inexorable march towards greater equality.”

The bill was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans. Senate Democrats are moving quickly to send the bill to the House and President Joe Biden’s desk.

The legislation would not force any state to allow same-sex couples to marry. But it would require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed, and protect current same-sex unions, if the court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision were to be overturned.

That's a stunning bipartisan endorsement, and evidence of societal change, after years of bitter divisiveness on the issue.

The bill would also protect interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.”

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