LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The executive director of the Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach is pleased that federal legislation aimed at protecting the rights of same sex and interracial marriages is close to reality.
Late Tuesday, senators on both sides of the aisle approved the Respect for Marriage Act by a 61-36 vote, an historic milestone for LGBTQ Americans.
"I'm happy that there's forward movement in this process," said Julie Seaver, executive director of the Compass Community Center.
She said the move is a step in the direction as it brought her back to when she and her partner of 17 years said "I-do" during a mass wedding at Palm Beach Pride earlier this year.
"It was my favorite moment of the whole entire pride season," she said.
If signed into law, the bill would require all states to recognize same sex and interracial marriages at the federal level. Although supporters like Seaver consider it to be a victory, she maintains more work is needed to ensure equal justice across the board.
"It doesn't feel very equal if some states can oversee if they're going to allow or accept same sex marriage in their own states," she said.
Until then, she remains hopeful and vows to continue fighting.
"I'm looking forward to this administration to push fourth this bill and, hopefully, we can get the Equality Act passed," she said.
The Respect for Marriage Act now heads to the House for a vote. If passed, it will then head to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature.
Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, both Republicans, voted against the measure, though they said they support gay rights.
Scott said the bill doesn't balance freedom to marry with religious freedom, and Rubio said he fears religious organizations, women's shelters and schools would likely be subject to crippling lawsuits if the bill becomes law.