The US House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that theSupreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade Abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservatives.
In a vigorous but lopsided debate, Democrats argued fiercely and often personally in favor of enshrining marriage equality in federal law, while Republicans avoided openly rejecting same-sex marriage. Instead, prominent Republicans portrayed the bill as unnecessary amid other issues facing the nation. The roll call for Tuesday, 267-157, was partly a political strategy, forcing all House members, Republicans and Democrats, to set records. It also reflects the legislature’s resistance to an aggressive court that has raised questions about the revision of other US laws that appear to have been settled.
Aides said GOP leaders, fearful of the political fallout, did not pressure their members to maintain the party’s position against the bill. In all, 47 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for its passage.
“To me, that’s personal,” said Representative Mundir Jones, DNY, who said he was among the openly gay members of the House of Representatives. “Imagine telling the next generation of Americans, my generation, we no longer have the right to marry those we love,” he said. “Congress cannot allow that to happen.”
While the Respect for Marriage Act passed easily in the House of Representatives with a Democratic majority, it is likely to stall in the evenly divided Senate, where most Republicans will likely join in the stalling to prevent it. It is one of several bills, including one that would enshrine access to abortion, that Democrats are proposing to counteract the conservative majority in court. Another bill, ensuring access to contraceptive services, is due to be voted on later this week.
House GOP leaders were divided on the issue, with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Sweepy Representative Steve Scalise voting against the Marriage Rights Bill, but Republican No. 3 Elise Stefanik of New York voting in favour. In marked silence, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell declined to speak his mind on the bill, leaving an open question how strong his party would be in fighting it, if it should be brought to a vote in the upper chamber.
Major House Republicans have turned in recent years on the issue of same-sex marriage, including Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who joined those who voted for them on Tuesday.
Another Republican, Representative Nancy Mays of South Carolina, said in a statement about her yes vote: “If gay couples want to be married as happily or miserably as straight couples are, they have more power.”
Polls show that a majority of Americans favor preserving marriage rights, regardless of gender, gender, race, or ethnicity, a long-standing shift in modern norms toward assimilation.
A Gallup poll in June showed widespread and growing support for same-sex marriage, with 70% of US adults saying they believe such marriages should be recognized by law as valid. The poll showed majority support among Democrats (83%) and Republicans (55%).
Approval for interracial marriage in the United States hit a six-decade high at 94% in September, according to Gallup.
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, a number of lawmakers joined protesters who demonstrated against the abortion ruling outside the Supreme Court, which is across from the Capitol and remains fenced for security during turbulent political times. Capitol police said that among those arrested were 16 members of Congress.
“The far-right majority in the Supreme Court has put our country on a perilous path,” Rep. Mary Jay Scanlon, D-Penn., said in a speech in the chamber, leading to the start of a debate Tuesday. “It is time for our colleagues to stand across the aisle and be counted. Will they vote to protect these basic liberties? Or will they vote to allow states to take those liberties?”
But Republicans insisted that the court focused only on access to abortion in June when it overturned the 50-year-old’s ruling of Roe v. Wade, and argued that same-sex marriage and other rights were not threatened.
In fact, almost none of the Republicans who rose to speak during the discussion directly addressed the topic of gay or interracial marriage. “We’re here for political charade, we’re here for political messaging,” said Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican member of the Judiciary Committee.
The same path can be expected in the Senate.
“The basis for this is completely wrong. I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to overturn any of those things,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri.
As many Democrats have spoken of the inequalities they or their loved ones have encountered in same-sex marriage, Republicans have spoken of rising gas prices, inflation and crime, including recent threats to judges regarding the abortion ruling.
For congressional Republicans, the Trump-era confirmation of conservative justices to the Supreme Court has served the GOP’s long-term goal of re-examining many social, environmental and regulatory issues that the party has not been able to address on its own by passing bills that can be signed. In law.
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals a Clinton-era law that defines marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and a woman. It would also provide legal protection for interracial marriage by prohibiting any state from denying licenses and benefits to marriage outside the state on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin.
The 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act, has been essentially sidelined by Obama-era court rulings, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, a landmark case for gay rights.
But last month, Justice Samuel Alito wrote to a majority in his dismissal of Roe v. Wade, defending a narrower interpretation of the rights of Americans, noting that the right to abortion was not enshrined in the Constitution.
In a favorable opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas went further, saying that other provisions similar to Roe’s, including those relating to same-sex marriage and couples’ right to use contraceptives, should be reconsidered.
While Alito insisted in the majority view that “this decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and not any other right,” others have noted. Rowe,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said, referring to Trump supporters.
He cited comments made by Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said over the weekend that the Supreme Court’s decision protecting marriage equality was “clearly wrong” and state legislatures should consider the issue. But Schumer did not commit to holding a vote on the marriage bill.