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The US Congress has passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” legislating federal protections for same sex marriages and interracial couples.

The Senate passed the bill last week by a vote of 61-36, while the House voted 258-169 in its favour.

Joe Biden, who sponsored the bill is expected to sign it into law.

Reports say that Democrats were unified in favor of the bill, while most Republicans in both chambers voted against it.

Thirty-nine House Republicans supported the legislation Thursday and one voted present.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle vote to pass Marriage Act.

“Your love is your choice … The pursuit of happiness means you can love whom you choose.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on the floor Thursday.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the first openly gay person elected to the US Senate wants assurance of the federal government to recognize and validated such marriages with guaranteed full benefits “regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the bill’s passage after the strike of the gavel. Loud applause broke out on the Democratic side of the chamber, while a few Republicans joined in clapping.

The bill was amended in response to Senate GOP demands. It clarified that religious organizations won’t be required to perform same-sex marriages and that government will not be forced to protect polygamous marriages.

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