The US Senate passed a law protecting same-sex marriage

USA and LGBTI+ flag/ Photo Priakhin Mikhail / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

The US Senate last night passed a bill to protect same-sex marriage across the US, a measure that comes in response to concerns that the Supreme Court may overturn a 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

The bill, which would require the federal government to recognize a marriage if it is legal in the state where it took place, is meant to be a backstop if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage.

The measure would not prohibit states from blocking same-sex or interracial marriages if the Supreme Court allows them to do so. "Today, the long but tireless march toward greater equality moves forward," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"By passing this bill, the Senate is sending a message that every American needs to hear: No matter who you are or who you love, you too deserve dignity and equal treatment under the law," he added.

The law received 61 votes, one more than the required 60 for its adoption. 36 senators were against. Twelve Republicans joined 49 Democrats in supporting the bill. One Democrat, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, was absent, as were two Republican senators.

A similar but not identical bill passed the House of Representatives earlier this year with the support of 47 Republicans and all Democrats. The House of Representatives must approve the Senate version before it is sent to President Joe Biden to sign into law.

About 568.000 married same-sex couples live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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