Washington, D.C. — Today, by a bipartisan vote of 258-169 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the amended version of the Respect for Marriage Act, codifying federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriage into law. Caroline Medina, director of LGBTQI+ Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement in response:
Today’s bipartisan vote is a historic victory for couples, families, and children nationwide. By passing the Respect for Marriage Act, Congress has reaffirmed that the government cannot and should not interfere with individuals’ right to marry the person they love.
When the Supreme Court devastatingly overturned Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion opened the door to the court eliminating other fundamental civil rights protections, including the right to marriage equality. The Respect for Marriage Act will effectively repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act; ensure same-sex and interracial marriages continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law; and help secure nationwide marriage recognition and equality for millions of couples across the country.
We applaud House and Senate leadership and lawmakers, in particular Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), as well as Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)—the first openly gay senator—for championing this crucial legislation and securing strong bipartisan support. We look forward to President Joe Biden acting quickly to sign this bill into law.
Passing the Respect for Marriage Act is a crucial step to ensure the well-being of LGBTQI+ families. Although today represents a major step forward, LGBTQI+ people and families remain under attack and vulnerable to discrimination in states across the country. To ensure LGBTQI+ people are treated fairly and equally under the law, Congress must also take action to pass federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQI+ communities, such as those in the Equality Act.
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