One day after being introduced, the Respect for Marriage Act has passed the U.S. House of Representatives on a 267-157 vote with bipartisan support, the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus announced today (Tuesday, July 19) in a press release.
H.R. 8404 would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and “ensure critical protections for same-sex and interracial marriages,” the caucus’ press release noted.
The bill was co-led by every openly LGBTQ member of Congress, including House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tri-Caucus Chairs Joyce Beatty of Ohio and Raul Ruiz and Judy Chu of California and Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries of New York — all Democrats.
Equality Caucus Chair David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, said, “The Respect for Marriage Act takes critical steps toward protecting marriage equality across this country. This legislation respects and recognizes the relationships, lives and marriages of same-sex and interracial couples across the country who deserve to be treated as equals.
“The vast majority of the American people agree that marriage equality is settled law. By passing this bill, Congress can make certain that Americans who have built families and lives around the recognition of marriage equality are protected,” Cicilline continued. “I am proud that this bipartisan bill recognizes the fundamental rights of the American people regarding marriage equality, and I urge the Senate to swiftly pas this bill and send it to the president’s desk for his signature.”
While the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country, and the Loving v. Virginia ruling in 1967 legalized interracial marriage across the country, marriage equality rights appear to be the next target of the newly-right-wing-extremist SCOTUS after the court struck down the landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade in June. The right to privacy which formed the basis of the Roe decision is also the basis for Loving and for Obergefell.
In his concurring opinion in the abortion ruling last month Justice Clarence Thomas insisted the court should now reconsider Obergefell and a host of other decisions involving personal liberties and reproductive freedom. However, Thomas — a Black man married to a white woman — conveniently did not mention the Loving ruling in his opinion.