Respect for Marriage Act clears crucial step for passage in U.S. Senate
After clearing a crucial procedural vote Wednesday, the Respect for Marriage Act is closer to final passage in the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan bill would protect federal marriage rights for same-sex and interracial couples.
U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona spoke in favor of the bill before the vote.
“This is about ensuring American families, who share the ideals of all marriages — love, devotion and sacrifice — can continue to count on the basic rights and responsibilities that come with their marriages,” Sinema said.
The measure would repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and woman. Although the law is still on the books, it has been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court several times and cannot currently be enforced.
This move comes after concerns regarding same-sex marriage rights arose after the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson was released. In his concurring opinion, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that he believes Obergefell v. Hodges, among other cases, should be reconsidered.
“[In] future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” he wrote.
The ruling in Obergefell guarantees the right to marry as a fundamental liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.