The United States Senate passed on Tuesday (29), with 61 votes in favor and 36 against, a legislative initiative that will allow same-sex marriage at the federal level. The bill will now return to the House of Representatives for its final vote.
The legislation intends for the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage if it is legal in the state where they were married.
The text also recognizes religious freedom, preventing churches from being obliged to celebrate these marriages and from losing benefits or tax exemptions for not doing so.
In addition, it revokes the The Defense of Marriage Act passed on 1996, which defines it as the union between a man and a woman.
“The history of the United States has been one of difficult march, but inexorably toward greater equality,” said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday, who warned that “the rights of all married couples will never truly be secure without the proper protections under the law federal”.
The House of Representatives, still with a progressive majority, gave its approval to the project in July with 267 votes in favor it’s against. In the Senate, the narrow Democratic majority needed the support of at least ten Republicans to move forward.
Once approved, the text must return to the House, which must give its green light to the new version that came out of the Senate, before going to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States since June 2015, when the Supreme Court declared laws prohibiting it in some states unconstitutional.
Mobilization in defense of these unions recently gained strength after the Supreme Court, now controlled by a conservative majority, overturned the decision in June “Roe v. Wade”, which for almost half a century allowed abortion in the country.
Since then, a large number of activists and progressive politicians have alerted to the possibility of Justice doing the same with other rights, such as same-sex marriage, giving back to the states the power to allow it or not.
While the bill is not intended to force all states to legalize gay marriage, it would require them to recognize marriages performed in another state where they are legal.