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Brown says federal marriage protections could get final approval next week

Lane V. Erickson
U.S. Capitol

The Respect for Marriage Act, which requires every state to acknowledge marriages from any other state, has gained momentum with the help of Ohio’s two U.S. Senators.

The measure would also repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, from 1996, which allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages.

The latest procedural vote gained the support of 12 Republican senators, which included U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

“The Respect for Marriage Act is a needed step to provide millions of loving couples in same-sex and interracial marriages the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights, and responsibilities afforded to all other marriages,” Portman said in a joint statement released with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina).

The 62 votes to allow for debate on the bill puts the measure above the total tally necessary to avoid a filibuster.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said the measure has broad support.

“If you love somebody, you ought to be able to do what you decide to do. If you want to marry, if you want whatever relationship you have. It shouldn't be the government stepping in and telling you what you should do. It should be you’re making those decisions for them, for your own interests, your partner and your family,” said Brown.

Amendments were added to the bill to clarify that it would not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriages. It also ensures that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide “any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”

Brown believes the proposal could reach President Joe Biden’s desk by the end of the month.

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