Legislation to protect same-sex marriages advances in Senate test vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages crossed a major Senate hurdle Wednesday, putting Congress on track to take the historic step of ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law.

Twelve Republicans voted with all Democrats to move forward on the legislation, meaning a final vote could come as soon as this week, or later this month. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill ensuring the unions are legally recognized under the law is chance for the Senate to “live up to its highest ideals” and protect marriage equality for all people.

“It will make our country a better, fairer place to live,” Schumer said, noting that his own daughter and her wife are expecting a baby next year.

Senate Democrats are quickly moving to pass the bill while the party still controls the House. Republicans are on the verge of winning the House majority and would be unlikely to take up the issue next year.

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