Headline RoundupDecember 1st, 2022

How the Respect for Marriage Act Gained a Bipartisan Supermajority

AllSides Summary

The Senate voted 61-36 Tuesday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. Twelve Republican senators joined the 50 Democrats to advance the bill that would codify same-sex and interracial marriage on a federal level. The bipartisan coalition that pushed forward the bill came about as a result of balancing the Democratic effort to enshrine marriage equality into law with the Republican effort to ensure the protection of religious liberties and state rights.

For Context: In 2015, the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage, but until now there was no federal legislation to support the precedent set by the court. Since the Obergefell decision, a number of cases have gone to the Supreme Court based around the conflict between marriage equality and religious freedoms.

What The Bill Does: The Respect for Marriage Act recognizes same-sex and interracial marriage on the federal level. It replaces the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited same-sex marriage. The act makes it so a marriage certificate of a same-sex or interracial couple from a state where it’s legal must be recognized in a state where it’s not legal.

What The Bill Doesn’t Do: The Respect for Marriage Act does not make same-sex and interracial marriage legal in all states, and would not require states that prohibit same-sex marriage to allow it, even if the Supreme Court did overturn the Obergefell decision. The bill does not require religious non-profits to recognize and provide services to same-sex couples.

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