U.S. Congress approves same-sex marriage protection law

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File – Image of the Pride parade in New York. – Niyi Fote/TheNEWS2 via ZUMA Pres / DPA

The U.S. House of Representatives approved Thursday the bill to safeguard same-sex unions in a measure that only requires the signature of President Joe Biden and marks an unprecedented federal protection for same-sex marriage.

The legislation, titled the Respect for Marriage Act, passed with a remarkable bipartisan consensus, 258 in favor to 169 opposed, thanks to Republicans securing an additional amendment granting religious organizations some leeway in this regard. Following this amendment, 39 Republican members of Congress cast their votes.

This amendment removes obligations on religious organizations to provide services that support same-sex marriage and ensures that the federal government does not recognize polygamous marriage.

It should be recalled, according to ‘The Hill’, that the measure was already approved last week in the Senate by 61 votes in favor to 36 against after months of negotiations, with the support of 12 Republican senators.

Following the bill’s passage in the Senate, Biden has assured that he will ratify it «with pride and speed» to enshrine federal protections for same-sex and interracial couples, directing states to recognize marriages regardless of the «sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of those individuals.»

In addition, the measure repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that recognizes marriage as «solely the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,» and refers to the word spouse as «a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.»