Thursday, December 01, 2022

Senate Passes The Respect For Marriage Act

The U.S. Senate has passed the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. President Biden has already said he will sign the bill into law. Here is part of how Amy B. Wang and Mariana Alfaro reported this in The Washington Post:

The Senate on Tuesday passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would enshrine marriage equality in federal law, granting protections to same-sex and interracial couples.

The bill passed in a 61-36 vote, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats to vote for it. Three senators did not vote. The bill includes a bipartisan amendment that clarifies protections for religious liberties, and it will now return to the House for another vote before it can go to President Biden to sign into law.

The 12 Republican senators who voted “yes” were Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Todd C. Young (Ind.).

Before the final vote, Collins stood to “thank all of the Republicans who have supported this. I know that it’s not been easy, but they’ve done the right thing.”

Biden celebrated the passage shortly after the tally was announced.

“With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” the president said in a statement. “For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled.”

The Respect for Marriage Act would not force states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but would require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. The bill also would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. That law has remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States vs. Windsor and its 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.

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