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President Joe Biden on Dec. 13 signed into law a federal bill to repeal the now-defunct Defense of Marriage Law and to require states to recognize any marriage, including a same-sex marriage, licensed by another state. 

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), a longtime friend of the LGBT community, introduced the legislation to the House in July, and it passed the House right away on a 267 to 157 vote. It was after mid-term elections that it finally started moving into the Senate, where it was led by openly lesbian U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.). There, it passed 61 to 36 (three not voting, including Georgia’s Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who was locked in a Dec. 5 runoff election against Republican nominee Herschel Walker). The New York Times gave much of the credit to former President George W. Bush’s now openly gay campaign manager, Ron Mehlman, and a group of other Republicans for lobbying Republican senators to secure the 11 GOP votes they needed to pass a procedural hurdle to take a vote on the measure.  

“It involved flooding the phone lines of Republican senators with calls from constituents who favored the same-sex marriage measure,” said the Times, “presenting them with polling that showed that voters were more likely to support a proponent of the bill than somebody who opposed it, and a public pressure campaign aimed at demonstrating widespread conservative support for the legislation.” Twelve Republicans were among the 61 senators who voted yes for the bill. Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were not a part of the 12.

The Washington Post gave much of the credit to Baldwin.

The Respect for Marriage Act originated in 2009 but was refurbished by Nadler this year after U.S. Supreme Court conservatives made clear many of them were eager to revisit the landmark Obergefell decision in 2015 that had struck down state bans on same-sex marriage.

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