WASHINGTON, DC – Legislation protecting same–sex and interracial marriages crossed a major U.S. Senate hurdle, putting Congress on track to take the 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. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Clinton–era Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and require states to recognize all marriages that were legal where they were performed. PA U.S. Sen. Bob Casey voted for the measure while Sen. Pat Toomey opposed it. Toomey said, “The Respect for Marriage Act does not provide any meaningful benefit to same-sex marriages that does not already exist. It does significantly threaten religious liberty.”