The US Congress on Thursday passed landmark legislation protecting same-sex marriage under federal law, and President Joe Biden has vowed to quickly sign the measure.
The vote in the House of Representatives saw 39 Republicans join the united Democratic majority in a rare show of bipartisanship, less than 10 days after the Senate passed a similar bill that erupted into loud cheers on the floor.
Outgoing Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said shortly before the vote, “Today this chamber stands proudly with the forces of freedom.”
The conservative-led Supreme Court overturned long-standing abortion rights in June, prompting lawmakers from both parties to move quickly to block same-sex marriage rights from being rolled back, as that some people feared.
The House, which previously approved similar legislation, needed Thursday’s vote to iron out minor differences with the Senate’s version.
Biden has named marriage equality one of his legislative priorities and said he would “immediately and proudly” sign the bill into law.
Democrats and others saluted the historic vote.
“I began my career fighting for LGBTQ communities,” Pelosi tweeted Thursday, “and now, one of the final bills I will sign as speaker will ensure that the federal government never again Don’t let that come in the way of marrying the one you love.
The new law, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, does not require states to legalize same-sex marriage, but does require them to recognize the marriage as long as it was valid in the state where it took place. it had been.
‘Going the wrong way’
It repeals previous legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and by requiring states to recognize legal marriages without regard to “sex, race, ethnicity or national origin”. Also protects interracial couples.
Public acceptance of same-sex marriage has increased dramatically in recent decades, with polls now showing a strong majority of Americans who support it.
But some conservatives and the religious right remain in opposition.
Conservative Republican Jim Jordan said before the vote, “I think this is the wrong way to go.”
House Democrats, who control Congress, worked quickly to pass the bill. Republicans won a narrow majority in the chamber in midterm elections in November and will take control there in January, while Democrats retain limited control of the Senate.
The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages in a 2015 ruling. Hundreds of thousands of couples have been married since then.
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