The United States Senate has passed a landmark legislation that protects the rights of people in same-sex and interracial marriages. The bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, was passed with 61 votes in favor, including 12 Republicans! Only 36 votes opposed the passage of the bill, that will now be sent to the House of Representatives. If approved, it will then go to President Joe Biden for Presidential Assent.

House Resolution 8404, that aimed to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act was presented before the Congress. According to the Respect for Marriage Act, “No person acting under color of State law may deny full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.” The full text of the Act may be read here.

The passage of the Act is a shot in the arm for rights of the LGBTQ+ community in the US, who are still recovering from the Colorado Springs shooting, where a young gunman driven by homophobia opened fire at a gay nightclub, killing five people and injuring 25.

The Act also protects interracial marriages, in an America where sensitivity towards race-based discrimination and hate crimes have been in the spotlight in wake of a spate of killings of African American people, including, but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Daunte Wright. Shockingly though, Mitch McConnel, who is himself in an interracial marriage voted against the bill.