RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On Tuesday, U.S. senators voted 61-36 in favor of a piece of legislation that could cement protections for same-sex marriages across the country.

The Respect For Marriage Act gained approval from 12 Republicans and all Democratic senators after months of bipartisan negotiations. The measure required a total of 60 votes to pass.

In practice, if the act becomes law, it would guarantee protections for all U.S. citizens that were initially handed down in the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges.

Outside of creating federal recognition for same-sex marriages across the country, the bill would also guarantee protections for interracial marriages. According to The Hill, current federal law is silent on the issue of interstate interracial marriages.

“For millions and millions of Americans, today is a very good day. An important day. A day that’s been a long time coming,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, noting he was sporting the tie he wore to his daughter’s wedding to her now-wife. “Sometimes we’ve taken steps forward. Other times, unfortunately, we’ve taken disturbing steps backward. But today … we are taking the momentous step forward for greater justice for LGBTQ Americans.”

Particularly after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the summer, some feared that the rights and protections from Obergefell v. Hodges could also be in jeopardy.

This concern was spurred in large part by the comments of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas who opened the door to the idea of overturning Obergefell in a concurring opinion to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade.

A push to pass the Respect For Marriage Act came ahead of the midterm elections, but did not see the needed Republican support to cross the finish line.

“Today, we have vindication the wait was well worth it,” Schumer said, referring to his decision to hold off voting on the bill until after the midterm elections.

In a speech after the vote, Republican Sen. Cnthia Lummis of Wyoming explained her decision to support the measure.

“For the sake of our nation today and its survival, we do well by taking this step. Not embracing or validating each other’s devoutly held views, but by the simple act of tolerating them. And that … explains my vote,” Lummis said.

Next up the bill will head to the House a second time because of the religious freedom amendment. It could be voted on by lawmakers “as soon as Tuesday” of next week, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

If given a second seal of approval from the House, the Respect For Marriage Act would go to President Biden’s desk for a signature.

Al Weaver of The Hill contributed to this report.