A day after the U.S. House approved a
marriage equality bill with bipartisan support, the White House
called on the Senate to quickly do the same.
Speaking with reporters aboard Air
Force One, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the
legislation was “personal” to President Joe Biden.
Jean-Pierre added that Biden, who first
publicly voiced his support for same-sex marriage in 2012 and
supported civil unions before that, would sign the bill into law if
it reached his desk.
The House on Tuesday approved the
Respect for Marriage Act with the support of 47 Republicans. The bill
was first introduced in 2009 by New York Representative Jerrold
Nadler, a Democrat. Nadler said that it was important to codify the
Supreme Court's marriage equality opinion in Obergefell after
it struck down Roe v. Wade, which like Obergefell was
based on the right to privacy.
endorses Jim Obergefell for Ohio House.)
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 and lesbian
couples. The Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 2013. The Respect for
Marriage Act also requires states to recognize the marriages of
same-sex couples performed in different states.
According to reporting from CNN, at
least four Republican senators have stated their support for the
legislation and another sixteen remain undecided. Ten GOP senators
are needed in the Senate to approve legislation backed by all
Republican senators Susan Collins of
Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Thom Tillis
of North Carolina support the bill.
The narrow window to approve the
marriage bill has alarmed anti-LGBTQ rights activists. Brian Brown,
president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), called
passage in the House “a bombshell” that “seriously disrupts our
plans for the balance of the year.”
Brown added that his group has “been
working at the state level with allies to find the right case to
bring forward to reverse the equally illegitimate Obergefell
decision imposing gay marriage.”