House Passes Bill Protecting Marriage Equality

The House has passed a bill protecting the right to same-sex and interracial marriage. The vote comes amid growing concerns that the Supreme Court is coming for gay marriage next after overturning the constitutional right to an abortion. 

Across the U.S., people are fearful that after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, other rights will soon be jeopardized. 

The Respect for Marriage Act passed with bipartisan support and forced Democrats and Republicans to publicly record their view. 

Forty-seven House Republicans supported the legislation, including some who have publicly apologized for previous opposition to gay marriage. More than three-quarters of the House Republicans voted against the bill. 

All 220 of the House Democrats voted in support of the bill. 

The bill is expected to die in the Senate, being blocked by Republican opposition. The Senate is extremely politically divided. Same-sex marriage has mass public support, with the majority of Americans supporting gay marriage regardless of their political party. 

The Respect for Marriage Act aims to repeal a law from the Clinton era that defines marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and a woman. It would also provide legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses and benefits on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. 

The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, has been basically sidelined by more recent rulings during the Obama era. That includes the Supreme Court ruling from Obergefell v Hodges, which established the rights of same-sex couples to marry nationwide. It was a landmark gay rights case. 

But last month, Justice Samuel Alito argued in the majority ruling that overturned Roe that there needs to be a more narrow interpretation of the rights guaranteed to Americans. In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas went even further, specifically saying that other rulings similar to Roe, including rulings on same-sex marriage as well as the right for couples to use contraception, should be reconsidered. 

Alito said that the overturning of Roe “concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” but it hasn’t stopped conservative lawmakers from gunning for gay marriage next.

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