CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Same-sex marriage has been allowed in the United States for seven years even though Congress never made it official. Now, that’s about to change. Despite years of controversy over the issue, it now has a lot of bipartisan support.

It appears that as times have changed, minds and votes have also changed along the way.

Beginning in 2015, same-sex marriages were recognized in the United States after a Supreme Court ruling okayed them. But Congress has never weighed in and actually passed a law legalizing those unions. The Senate has now cleared the way for passage of a House bill to do just that. It is bipartisan with 12 Republican Senators and 46 GOP House members saying yes.

“Same sex marriage has also had a Constitutional right since 2015. Today, there are about a million same-sex households and about 60% of them are married. In the minds of most Americans, the validity of these marriages is a settled question,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R) Ohio.

Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia was one of 12 Republicans to join Democrats in advancing the bill.

“This legislation will allow those who have entered into a civil partnership since the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling… to continue to have their partnerships respected for federal benefit purposes,” Capito said. “This does not lessen the traditional sanctity of marriage or jeopardize the freedom of religious institutions.”

A final passage vote on this bill has not yet been scheduled, but that’s simply a formality as supporters now know they have enough votes to make the “Respect for Marriage Act” the law.