July 19, 2022
The U.S. House today passed by a bipartisan vote of 267-157 legislation that would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, both parts of which have already been invalidated by the Supreme Court. It ensures that neither states nor the federal government may deny respect for marriages based on the couples’ sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Congress is using its constitutional power to assure families that their marriages will be respected.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement on the House passage of the Respect for Marriage Act:
“GLAD is hearing from spouses, parents, and children every day worried about what a future legal challenge to marriage equality could mean for their family. We appreciate this leadership from the Congress because no one should need to fear their marriage and their family won’t be protected and respected.
GLAD not only won the first marriage case in any state, but also brought the first coordinated challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) over a decade ago. We saw the harms LGBTQ+ married families faced every day as the status of their family relationships shifted because they crossed state lines or because the federal government categorically disrespected their marriages. The Supreme Court rightly found unconstitutional both the federal disrespect part of DOMA in Windsor and the interstate nonrecognition aspect in Obergefell. It is long past time for the Congress to remove the entirety of this harmful law from the books.
The Respect for Marriage Act also affirms what we know is true: it cannot be lawful for the states or the federal government to refuse to respect a marriage because of the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the couple. This provides critical assurance to millions of Americans about the stability of their crucial family relationships wherever they live, travel or relocate. We are grateful to bipartisan leaders Representatives Nadler and Cicilline, and Senators Collins, Feinstein, and Baldwin who introduced this measure and to the Representatives on both sides of the aisle who supported it today.
The Supreme Court Dobbs ruling has only added to fears many Americans have about forces destabilizing our democracy and the loss of critical protections. Congress can address these fears and ensure respect for important rights Americans rely on by passing legislation to protect voting rights, access to abortion and contraception, respect for marriage, and nondiscrimination. Today’s House vote on the Respect for Marriage Act is an important step in that direction.”
Learn more about the Respect for Marriage Act