In mid-september, Democrats in the House passed a bill, referred to as the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill meant to codify the recognition of same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law following the widely unpopular decision to overturn Roe v Wade. The bill was passed amid fears that the majority-conservative Supreme Court would overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark case that recognized same sex marriage nationwide, as they did Roe. As such, Democrats, with support from some Republican members, passed the bill in mid-September and has been put to a vote in the Senate. According to NPR, with a vote of 62-37, a process meant to move the bill to a vote without filibuster, the Senate, with 12 Republicans supporting, are ready to move to a final vote before the end of the year. It is widely expected to pass, with nearly every Democrat supporting the action.
This bill, as stated by some supporters, would be the most consequential civil and LGBTQ+ rights law since the civil rights era. In an opinion piece, the Washington post stated, “The Respect for Marriage Act must pass — and Republicans should support it.”
“Today, the Senate has a chance to live up to its highest ideals by taking up legislation that will protect the rights of all Americans regardless of who they choose to marry.” Stated Senate Democratic Majority Leader Schumer in a statement regarding the bill before a final procedural vote. He added “No one – no one – in a same sex marriage should have to worry about whether or not their marriage will be invalidated in the future.”
Despite this, many still oppose the act, seeing it as unnecessary, as demonstrated by Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s vote against the act. Regardless, the bill remains popular among moderate Republican Senators and the overwhelming majority of Senate Democrats.
It is unclear what will happen in the future, but with the filibuster overcome with the 62-37 vote, it’s likely the Respect for Marriage Act will make its way to President Biden’s desk before the new congressional session on January 3rd. Biden, a vocal supporter of the bill, was reported in a brief White House statement as saying “Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.”
The majority of Americans support same-sex unions and other issues the bill addresses, and if sources are correct on capitol hill, the country could see the federal legalization and recognition of marriage equality as enshrined into law.