The United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that would federally codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage.
The bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, repeals and replaces provisions that define marriage as between a man and a woman, and spouse as a person of the opposite sex, in federal law. It also requires any state to recognize a valid marriage under state law.
The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.
The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.
The bill passed the House with a vote of 267 to 157, with 47 Republican lawmakers voting in favor.
According to online records, all Alabama Republican lawmakers voted against the bill, with only Democrat Terri Sewell voting in favor. Notable Republicans who voted in favor were Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WYO), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and John Katko (R-NY).
After the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down Roe V. Wade in its decision in Dobbs V. Jacksons Women’s Health Organization, many in the Democratic Party expressed concern about other possible SCOTUS decisions.
In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the SCOTUS “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”
Obergefell V. Hodges was a 2015 SCOTUS decision that ruled that the right to same-sex marriage was granted by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause found in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S Constitution.
The Respect for Marriage Act would essentially enshrine the SCOTUS opinion found in Obergefell into federal law.
Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Dobbs said the decision would only affect abortion.
“Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion,” Alito wrote in his opinion.
While the Respect for Marriage Act easily passed the House with its Democratic majority, the evenly split Senate leaves the bill's fate in question. The bill is one of many introduced by Democrats in the wake of multiple SCOTUS rulings that Democratic lawmakers have decried. Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill enshrining the right to abortion into federal law, which passed the House and headed to the Senate. Another bill guaranteeing access to specific contraceptive services is set for a House vote later this week.
“As the Supreme Court comes after our hard-fought personal liberties, we in Congress must act,” Sewell wrote on Twitter. “Today I voted for the Respect for Marriage Act to enshrine marriage equality into law and ensure same-sex and interracial marriages will continue to be recognized. We will not go back!!”
Alabama State Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02) voted against the “deceivingly titled” bill.
“With inflation at a 41-year high, a new record for border crossings set in June at over 191,000, and violent crime plaguing the country, it is outrageous that Democrats are focused on unnecessary legislation that repeals a law struck down by the courts years ago,” Moore said. “Despite mischaracterizations Democrats are using to justify their urgency, the Supreme Court made it clear in Dobbs that their decision should not be used to cast doubt on precedents that have nothing to do with abortion.”
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