Updated: Jan 23
Same-sex marriage bill passes Senate and House and is off to be signed by President Joe Biden.
On December 8, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act with a vote of 258 to 169, with 39 Republicans supporting Democrats on the bill.
Shortly before, on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, the Senate passed the legislation to protect same-sex marriage. The vote on the matter was 61-36, with all members of the Democrat caucus and 12 Republicans supporting the bill.
Now the bill will make its way to the President in order for the bill to be signed into law.
According to CNN, "While the bill won't be set as a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage, it would require individual states to recognize another state's legal marriage."
If the Supreme Court were to officially overturn the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, it would require states to acknowledge the states that have approved of same-sex marriage.
“For millions and millions of Americans, today is a very good day,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “An important day. A day that’s been a long time coming.” (CNN)
The reason for the bill is that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said to reconsider same-sex marriage after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
President Biden and other supporters like Democrats have tried to do the best they can to protect same-sex marriage.
Where it all began.
On June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage was officially legal in all 50 states in the United States. This was a milestone that granted same-sex couples equal rights to heterosexual couples under federal law.
According to History.com, “As homosexuality gradually became more accepted in American culture, the conservative backlash was so strong enough to force President Bill Clinton to sign the Defense of Marriage Act also known as DOMA, prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages at the federal law...”
DOMA, in summary, said that marriage is between only a man and a woman. Over the next decade, states started banning same-sex marriage.
In 2000 Vermont instituted same-sex civil unions and soon Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage three years later.
President Barack Obama was against DOMA and instructed his justice department not to support it in 2011. In 2013, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in California.
On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court heard arguments on Obergefell v. Hodges. Finally, on June 26, 2015, the court ruled 5-4, stating that bans on same-sex marriage were considered unconstitutional.
The Pros and Cons
The federal Defense of Marriage Act will be invalidated under the bill. It will make it prohibited for states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages between residents of different states.
The law removes the government from the process of determining whether or not a marriage is valid. It reaffirms that faith-based organizations are not required to be involved in marriage celebrations if they do not wish to.
It does have some drawbacks.
If Obergefell v. Hodges is overturned, some states may make same-sex marriage illegal or prohibit it, which means that the state is not obligated to provide a marriage license, making it tough for same-sex couples to get married and forcing states to issue marriage licenses.
Having said that, not everyone has the ability to travel. If one state makes same-sex marriage illegal or prohibits it, the same-sex couple would have to fly or travel to another state to obtain a marriage license.
While there are still people continuing the battle of finding peace and being accepted, this is considered another major step for the LGBTQ+ community.