The U.S. House on Thursday gave final
approval to a same-sex marriage bill, sending it to President Joe
Biden for his signature.
The Respect for Marriage Act cleared
the House over the summer with the help of 47 Republicans. The bill
returned to the House after the Senate added an amendment that
protects religious liberty.
Thursday's vote saw a loss of 8 GOP
votes. The legislation was a priority for the House majority after
Democrats lost control of the House in the midterms.
The bill now heads to Biden's desk for
his signature. Biden has expressed his support for the measure,
saying last week that he will “proudly sign it into law.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, called Thursday's vote “a
clear victory” for same-sex married couples.
“Today’s vote in the House of
Representatives sends a clear message: love is winning,” HRC
President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “At a time when the
LGBTQ+ community continues to face ongoing attacks – from deadly
violence to legislative assaults on our rights – today’s vote is
a clear victory for this country’s 568,000 same-sex married
couples, including me. The fact that this bill passed with strong
bipartisan support in both chambers proves that marriage equality is
supported by a wide swath of the American people. We eagerly await
the president’s signature on this important legislation – and
look forward to continuing to fight for full equality for everyone in
our community, without exception.”
The Respect for Marriage Act codifies
the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in Obergefell that struck down
laws and constitutional amendments that defined marriage as a
heterosexual union, ushering in nationwide marriage equality. It will
strengthen protections on a federal level and require states to
recognize all legal out-of-state marriages.
In reintroducing the legislation after
the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Democrats
pointed out that both decisions were based on the right to privacy.