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12 Senate Republicans join Democrats in passing pro-gay marriage bill

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A dozen Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to pass a piece of pro-gay marriage legislation in a 61-36 vote on Tuesday.

The 12 GOP senators who voted for the measure included: Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa; Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Todd Young of Indiana.

Another version of the bill cleared the House chamber earlier this year with support from dozens of GOP lawmakers, so the Senate-approved measure will likely sail though the House of Representatives and head to President Biden's desk.

The so-called "Respect for Marriage Act" would bar states from refusing to recognize marriages from other states on the basis of factors like sex and race. The measure also stipulates that if marital status is a concern for any federal law, individuals should be viewed as married if their marriage was valid in the state it occurred.

Due to the Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling, states are currently required to allow and recognize homosexual marriages.

Earlier this year when the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v.Wade abortion decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a concurring opinion in which he suggested that other high court decisions, including the gay marriage ruling, should be struck down.

Thomas wrote that "in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell." He noted, "After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated."

In a statement about the measure passing through the Senate on Tuesday, Biden said that "the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love."

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