The U.S. House on Tuesday approved a
bill that protects same-sex marriage.
The measure, titled the Respect for
Marriage Act, cleared the chamber with a 267-157 vote. Forty-seven
Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the legislation.
New York Representative Jerrold Nadler,
a Democrat, first introduced the bill in 2009, roughly six years
before the Supreme Court in Obergefell found that gay and
lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Nadler said that it was important to
codify the high court's opinion after it struck down Roe v. Wade,
which like Obergefell was based on the right to privacy.
“The Supreme Court’s recent
decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health – which
extinguished the constitutional right to abortion – has raised
concerns among some people that other rights rooted in the
constitutional right to privacy may be at risk, notwithstanding the
Court’s assurance that Dobbs was limited to abortion. This
includes the right to marriage equality,” Nadler said on the House
“This legislation would provide
additional stability for the lives that families have built upon the
foundation of our fundamental rights. Congress must pass the Respect
for Marriage Act to dispel any concern or uncertainty for families
worried by the implications of the Dobbs decision. And it must
pass the Respect for Marriage Act to enshrine in law the equality and
liberty that our Constitution guarantees,” he said.
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that prohibited the federal
government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples. The
Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2013. The Respect for Marriage Act
also requires states to recognize the marriages of gay couples
performed in different states.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, cheered passage of the bill
with strong bipartisan support.
“The fact that this bill passed with
strong bipartisan support – earning the votes of 47 Republicans,
proves that marriage equality is supported by a wide swath of the
American people, and is not going anywhere,” HRC Interim President
Joni Madison said in a statement. “We strongly urge the Senate to
follow the example set by their colleagues in the House and vote to
pass this bill.”
The legislation now heads to the Senate
where it faces an uncertain future.