The Senate on Wednesday overcame a key procedural hurdle to approving a bill that would codify same-sex marriage, clearing its way for final passage in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision on abortion that has threatened other landmark cases – like one that legalized same-sex marriage.

“Today, the Senate is taking a truly bold step forward in the march towards greater justice, greater equality, by advancing the Respect for Marriage Act,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote on Wednesday. “It will make our country a better, fairer place to live.”

Twelve Republican senators – Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Robert Portman of Ohio, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Todd Young of Indiana – joined Democrats, approving the motion in a 62-37 post-midterm vote, after delaying a previous effort to get the votes together to break a filibuster.

The bill would create federal protections for marriages between same-sex couples, including a provision that would require states to recognize marriages performed in other states, while repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act rule that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. But the bill would not require that all states legalize same-sex marriage in the event that the Supreme Court rolled back its decision that did so nationwide.

Democrats delayed an earlier vote on the measure until after midterm elections, hoping to ease pressure on sympathetic GOP lawmakers – a strategy that appears to have worked despite some skepticism at the time.

Nearly 50 Republicans joined House Democrats to pass the bill in July in the weeks following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, when Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurring opinion an openness to reconsidering related landmark cases.

But Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, said the decision did not have implications beyond abortion, saying that the decision “concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right.”

Even so, Democrats have pointed to Thomas’ apparent willingness to revisit the precedents that protect contraception and same-sex marriage. The conservative justice wrote in his concurring opinion that, although he agrees that nothing in the court’s opinion should cast doubt on precedents beyond abortion, “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” the cases that established a right to contraception, intimacy between same-sex couples and marriage equality.

Some lawmakers have harped on Alito’s sentiment, arguing that the legislation is unnecessary. Collins acknowledged that critique, arguing its importance no matter what course the Supreme Court takes.

“Regardless of one’s views on that possibility, there is still value in ensuring that our federal laws reflect that same sex and interracial couples have the right to have their marriages recognized regardless of where they would live in this country,” Collins said. “I strongly believe that passing this bill is the right thing to do.”

Collins, the lead Republican sponsor of the bill, said it would help “promote equality, prevent discrimination and protect the rights of Americans in same sex and interracial marriages.”

“We need to remove the cloud that is now over these couples that is causing them such consternation,” Collins said.

The Senate version of the bill also clarified language in the House bill that would leave protections from a religious freedom law and ensure that nonprofit religious groups would not be required to perform marriage services, which seemed to make it more palatable for some Republican lawmakers.

“This legislation provides important protections for religious liberty – measures which are particularly important to protect the religious freedoms of our faith-based institutions,” Romney said in a statement on Wednesday.

Schumer said on Wednesday that passing the Respect for Marriage Act would be “an unequivocal, bipartisan win” and would mark “one of the more significant accomplishments of the Senate to date.”

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