Protections for same-sex marriages have crossed a key hurdle in the US Congress as it moves towards the historic step of enshrined such unions in federal law.
US edges closer to same-sex marriage law
The US Senate has voted to advance a bill protecting federal recognition of same-sex marriage, prompted by concerns that a more conservative Supreme Court could reverse a 2015 decision that made it legal nationwide.
The bill garnered the 60 votes required to limit debate before a final vote on its passage. It would serve as a legal backstop against any future Supreme Court action by requiring the federal government to recognise any marriage that was legal in the state it was performed.
It would not block states from banning same-sex or interracial marriages if the Supreme Court allows them to do so.
All 50 Democrats and 12 Republican senators voted on Wednesday to advance the bill in the 100-member Senate. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in July, with the support of 47 Republicans and all of the chamber’s Democrats.