HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut’s congressional delegation is celebrating the U.S. Senate passage of a bill protecting same-sex marriage.
Marriage equality, among other issues, was a top priority for congressional Democrats during this lame-duck session in Washington D.C.
“There are moments that bring out the best in America and this one really epitomized that spirit,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) at a press conference Friday.
Tuesday, the Senate passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” in a 61-36 vote, with support from all Democrats and 12 Republicans.
“We had to work very hard for Republican votes,” Blumenthal said. “My Republican colleagues raised a lot of questions, some of them well intended and legitimate, and in the end, it was bipartisan. I was absolutely thrilled.”
The measure would codify same-sex and interracial marriage protections into federal law.
Currently, both are only protected through U.S. Supreme Court rulings, something advocates say is at risk with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“I think that being proactive about this means that couples who are in those same-sex marriages and partnerships can sleep a little bit better,” said Edson Rivas, executive director for the Triangle Community Center.
This legislation requires all states recognize any marriage, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin. It also removes all references to marriage being between a man and a woman from federal law.
However, the bill doesn't federalize the full protections under the 2015 supreme court decision or prohibit states from enacting laws to ban or restrict same-sex marriages if the 2015 ruling is overturned.
This is leading some to say more needs to be done.
“This is a small victory and the first step forward,” said Johanna Schubert with West Hartford Pride. “While we celebrate today, we want to fight tomorrow for more equity and more justice for couples and same-sex marriage.”
This measure now heads to the U.S. House for a final vote Tuesday and with the current Democrat majority, it is expected to pass.
Blumenthal said President Biden has vowed to sign it into law as soon as it's approved, meaning this could be a done deal by next week.
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