That created new urgency among Democrats and some Republicans to pass new laws specifically outlining those protections. Although abortion rights legislation does not have the Republican votes needed to avoid a filibuster, a bipartisan group of lawmakers came together for marriage rights.
The House passed a version of the bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, in July. It received bipartisan support, but Georgia’s delegation split strictly along party lines, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.
The Senate is amending that bill, which means the legislation will have to be sent back to the House before the current session of Congress ends in December.
A second procedural vote was expected Thursday in the Senate, with final passage in that chamber likely after the Thanksgiving break.
Ossoff said he was glad the Senate was willing to move forward on protecting marriage rights.
“This is a fundamental question of human freedom,” he said. “Are we free to choose our spouse, to choose for ourselves with whom we build our lives and build a family? And that freedom is what’s at stake here. I’m glad we got this done today.”