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AP Explains: The Respect for Marriage Act

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Legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages has crossed a major Senate hurdle, putting Congress on track to take the historic step of ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law. Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the bill ensuring the unions are legally recognized under the law is chance for the Senate to "live up to its highest ideals" and protect marriage equality for all people. Senate Democrats are quickly moving to pass the bill while the party still controls the House. Associated Press reporter Mary Clare Jalonick explains that the legislation comes as a protective measure considering the Supreme Court overturning Roe. V. Wade this past summer. "It's really a protective measure incase the 2015Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges were to be overturned by the Supreme Court," she said. "It is a measure of protection because the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer and Democrats have been concerned that there might be efforts to overturn other protections that the Court has decided on in recent years." Jalonick also notes that Democrats made two amendments to the bill in order to please Republicans who were on the fence. One amendment protects religious freedom, while the other assures that the bill would not open the door to polygamy. These amendments helped secure Republican votes needed to cross the threshold of 10 votes. The Senate is expected to make an official vote on the legislation in the upcoming weeks.

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