Same sex marriage is a step closer to being enshrined in American law.
The Respect For Marriage Act crossed a major hurdle in the US Senate this week when 12 Republicans voted with all the Democrats to advance the bill.
It follows an amendment to ensure that non-profit religious organisations and their staff will not have to perform or provide services for same-sex marriages.
However, the amendment does not cover deeply religious Christians who perform secular services such as bakers, florists and web designers.
Evangelist Franklin Graham said the bill doesn’t protect religious freedom and is really the ‘Destruction of Marriage Act.'”
“This disastrous bill sends a message to America that if you don’t agree with the left’s definition of marriage, you are a bigot,” he proclaimed.
Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler wrote that: ‘Anyone who would redefine, the most fundamental building block of society, is no conservative, no friend of the natural family, and no defender of family values.'”
Senate Democrats are rushing to pass the bill while the party still controls the House of Representatives which must pass the amendment before a final vote is taken.
That could happen within days.
President Biden has pledged to sign the bill as soon as it has been passed by Congress.
The bill gained momentum after US Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas suggested a legal decision protecting same-sex marriage could come under threat.
A Gallup poll taken earlier this year found 71% of Americans in support of same-sex marriage.