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Senate passes landmark legislation protecting same-sex marriage rights: recap

The Senate took an historic step Tuesday, passing legislation that would enshrine same-sex marriage rights into law and grant gay unions federal protection.

The vote to pass the Respect for Marriage Act was bipartisan – 61 to 36 – with a significant bloc of Republicans joining every Democrat in approving the landmark bill. It now heads to the House where it’s expected to pass as early as next week.

Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person to serve in the Senate, said its passage should allay the concerns of same-sex and interracial couples worried their civil marriage could be stripped away.