Same-sex marriage bill clears hurdle in Senate

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The U.S. Senate voted 62-37 on Wednesday afternoon to move forward legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage.

All 50 members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans voted to allow debate on the bill, which requires 60 votes, setting it up for final passage soon.

Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer voted against the bill. Sen. Ben Sasse was in Florida and did not vote.

“No American should ever be discriminated against because of who they love, and passing this bill would secure much-needed safeguards into federal law,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Supporters of the Respect for Marriage Act said it would guarantee federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriage while protecting religious liberties.

The president of the Grand Island chapter of PFLAG, an organization supporting LGBTQ people and their families, said it is important that their rights are guaranteed at the federal level.

“Having it recognized at a federal level, it’s just going to afford those protections to LBTQ individuals that have a partner, that have a spouse, that have gone through steps to become legally married, having the same rights that are afforded to married people,” Chrissy Brooks said.

The push for this legislation comes after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the court should also reconsider the decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

The Respect for Marriage Act would require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.

An amendment to the bill says religious organizations will not be required to provide services, facilities or goods for the celebration of a same-sex marriage.

The Nebraska Family Alliance said in a press release the bill amounts to an attack on millions of Americans, particularly people of faith who believe marriage is between one man and one woman.

Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed to learn that the U.S. Senate has passed the mistitled ‘Respect for Marriage Act.’  Marriage — the only civil institution that protects a child’s right to a permanent, stable family life with his or her mother and father — is critical for children’s flourishing and foundational for a strong and healthy society.  This vote is a failure to acknowledge the reality of marriage and its deep implications for the common good.”

After the bill wins final approval in the Senate, it will go to the U.S. House, which must pass the revised version.

If that happens, it will then go to President Joe Biden for his signature.

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