WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate voted 61-36 to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and federally enshrine both same-sex and interracial marriage rights for all Americans.  The Respect for Marriage Act would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  The bill would guarantee that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin, but the bill would not require a State to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a cosponsor of the landmark bill, issued the following statement:

“Marriage is about love, respect, commitment, and the pursuit of happiness.  All Americans, no matter who they love or where they live, should be treated fairly and equally under the law.  This will help protect marriage equality nationwide.

“While same sex marriage is legal in Rhode Island, that is not the case in every state yet.  So this bill will ensure that all loving, committed couples who get married in Rhode Island have their marriages lawfully recognized and rights respected under the law.  It’s a win for fairness, marriage equality, and family stability. 

“Now that the Respect for Marriage Act has passed the Senate, I hope the House will swiftly follow suit and send it to President Biden to be signed into law.”

A similar bill championed by Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July and earned support from 47 Republicans.  The final Senate measure passed today included bipartisan language to protect religious liberty.

Once the bill clears the House, it will be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.