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Senate Advances Religious Freedom Amendment to Marriage Equality Bill

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The U.S. Senate Monday advanced a religious freedom amendment to a marriage equality bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, moving the legislation a step closer to passage.The Respect for Marriage Act would write marriage equality into federal law, protecting it from Supreme Court action.

The amendment is meant to allay concerns that the act would interfere with religious liberty. The amendment confirms that no nonprofit religious organization would have to provide goods, services, or facilities for wedding ceremonies or receptions, and it clarifies that the federal government would not have to recognize polygamous marriages.The Senate voted 61-35 to end debate on the amendment, allowing it to move on to a further vote, The Hill reports.

Twelve Republicans joined all 49 Democrats and independents who were present. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia was absent because he is still campaigning, facing a runoff election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker December 6.But votes on three other, broader amendments are set for Tuesday.

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