The U.S. House is voting on the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill repeals and replaces provisions, for purposes of federal law, that define marriage and what is legal under state law.

The legislation enshrines marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples into federal law. The bill would also formally repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality, according to a Tuesday release from U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline).

Despite national support for marriage equality reaching record high levels, 157 House Republicans voted against the measure. 

“In our country, freedom is sacred. And that includes the freedom to marry the person you love,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “While the vast majority of Americans believe that a person’s race or sex should never determine which rights they are afforded in this country, we’re in a position in which fundamental freedoms are at risk at the hands of the Supreme Court. Today, I voted to take action enshrining marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples into federal law to protect folks no matter how the court moves forward.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, right-wing extremists have set their sights on other rulings upholding basic rights and freedoms, Bustos said in the release. In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called for the Court to consider overturning other landmark rulings, including the Obergefell v. Hodges decision recognizing the Constitutional right to marriage equality. 

The Respect for Marriage Act does the following:

  • Enshrines Marriage Equality into Federal Law: This legislation will require the federal government to fully recognize any marriage considered valid in the state where it was performed – providing same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to receive equal treatment under federal law.
  • Repeals the Discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act: While the Supreme Court has effectively voided the Defense of Marriage Act, this unconstitutional and discriminatory federal law still remains on the books.  The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal this statute once and for all.
  • Provides Additional Legal Protections from Individuals Seeking to Undermine Marriage Equality Under State Law: This legislation prohibits state officials from denying recognition of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG

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