The U.S. House passed a bill yesterday to protect marriage equality in direct response to the Supreme Court’s recent opinions filed over the Dobbs decision that repealed Roe v. Wade. The bill, sponsored by New York Congressman Jerry Nadler takes direct aim at Justice Clarence Thomas’ opinion in the Dobbs case that called for the reversal of multiple decisions that enshrined same-sex marriage.
House Resolution 8404 titled the “Respect for Marriage Act”, passed in a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. Seven Republicans did not vote. Illinois Republican Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Rodney Davis voted with Democrats. Republicans Darin LaHood, Mike Bost, and Mary Miller each voted against the measure.
The measure, which faces a shaky future in the 50-50 Senate, calls for the repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act” that was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton in 1996 that recognized marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since former Governor Pat Quinn signed it into law in 2013 and taking effect in 2014.
If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the “Respect for Marriage Act” would require that individuals be considered married if they were wed in a state where marriage was legal. The provision, according to the House Judiciary Committee, ensures that same-sex and interracial couples are treated equally to other married individuals at the federal level.
Additionally, the bill gives the attorney general authority to launch civil action against any individual who violates it and allows any individual to take civil action if their rights as laid out in the bill are breached.
According to The Hill, Republicans have sought to characterize the bill as unwarranted and described the measure as a way to delegitimize the Supreme Court and stir up fears ahead of the November General Election. There are currently no court cases before the Supreme Court that would seek to overturn any marriage rights, but Democrats argue it does help protect LGBTQ+ rights if they were to be brought before the court in the near future.