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White House urges Senate to pass marriage equality bill for Biden's signature

The White House on Wednesday urged the Senate to quickly pass a bill protecting same-sex marriage after it made it through the House with bipartisan support.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One that the legislation is “personal” to President Biden, adding that he would sign the bill should it pass the Senate.

“He is a proud champion of the right for people to marry whom they love and is grateful to see bipartisan support for that right,” Jean-Pierre said. “He believes it is non-negotiable and that the Senate should act swiftly to get this to the president’s desk. He wants to sign this.”

“We need this legislation, and we urge Congress to move as quickly as possible, and it’s something the vast majority of the country supports,” she added.

Jean-Pierre would not speak to whether Biden had personally gotten involved in rallying support for the bill, but she said the White House’s legislative affairs team was in regular contact with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The House on Tuesday passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. Seven Republicans did not vote.

The bill calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that recognized marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” It would also require that individuals be considered married if they were wed in a state where marriage was legal, ensuring that same-sex and interracial couples are treated equally to other married individuals at the federal level and guarding against potentially differing state laws.

The bill would require the support of all 50 Democrats and at least 10 Republicans in the Senate to overcome the 60-vote filibuster.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) are co-sponsors of the Senate bill. Portman said Republican views of same-sex marriage are changing and predicted there is “a possibility” the bill could get 10 Republican votes to overcome a filibuster.  

Democrats have sought to move quickly on protecting marriage equality after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion last month that precedents on same-sex marriage and contraception should be revisited after the court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Source: The Hill

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