Why this matters: The new Respect for Marriage Act would protect same-sex and interracial marriages by requiring states to recognise legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.” The legislation would essentially repeal the older Defense of Marriage Act that legally defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The backdrop: The decision comes amid concerns that the right-leaning US Supreme Court may reverse its 2015 ruling that made same-sex marriages legal across the nation. After striking down of Roe v Wade – legislation which protected abortion rights – in June, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had said that the apex court had a "duty to correct the error" made in various other precedents.
What stood out: 12 Republicans voted in favour of passing the amendments in the bill along with all Democrats.
What next: The measure will have to pass through a number of procedural stages in the Senate before returning to the House of Representatives for a final vote, after which it will be signed by President Joe Biden.
What did they say: "Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. Today’s bipartisan vote brings the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law," President Biden said after the vote.