Senate Votes To Pass Gay And Interracial Marriage Protection Bill

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., flanked by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., left, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters following Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The US Senate voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, the first step in protecting marriages between same-sex and interracial couples at the federal level. 

The vote to pass the bill was bipartisan: 61 to 36. Every Democratic senator voted “yes,” and they were joined by a number of Republicans including Iowa’s Joni Ernst. Chuck Grassley, Iowa’s other Republican senator, voted “no.”

During a prior vote, Ernst said she supported the bill after hearing from Iowans and closely reviewing amended language that protected religious freedoms. Contrastly, Grassley said he supports same-sex and interracial marriage but voted against the bill because he thought it put religious freedoms at risk.

However, the bill explicitly ensures nonprofit religious organizations will not be required to provide services, facilities, or goods for the celebration of a same-sex marriage.

The bill’s passage comes as Democrats and LGBTQ advocates have expressed growing fear over the possibility that the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges—which legalized gay marriage nationwidecould possibly be overturned following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year. While the Respect for Marriage Act does not codify Obergefell, it does require states that ban same-sex marriages to recognize these marriages from other states in the event that Obergefell is overturned and those bans are allowed to go into place. 

The bill also protects interracial marriages by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer noted, this vote could have happened earlier this year, but more time was needed to gain support from enough Republicans to pass the bill. 

The author of the bill, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is the first openly gay American elected to the Senate. She recently revised the bill to garner some Republican support, adding language to clarify that religious organizations would retain the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages and that polygamous marriages would not be protected by the federal government. 

“We’re making a really positive difference in people’s lives by creating the certainty that their ability to protect their families will be lasting,” Baldwin told NBC News.
Now the bill heads to the House, where it is expected to pass, before heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. Proponents of the bill want the legislation to pass before Republicans take control of the House on Jan. 3.


by Isabel Soisson

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1 Comment on "Senate Votes To Pass Gay And Interracial Marriage Protection Bill"

  • You have just got to learn that Religion is the Hate of Man Kind. What a religious community wishes to do inside its own church is fine. But those folks do not get the right to step out and make laws that deny me/us my/our rights under the United States Constitution, or State Constitution.
    As well as if you’re having one state disallow the rights of marriage, to residents of another state, then what about ALL OF THE OTHER LAWS, that we as a society live by?
    Pure and simple, religion when used by man is pure hate when they put their own spin on it.
    If married in the District of Columbia, then Federal law should protect everyone’s rights to marriage, so that a state cannot deny the married couple their rights.
    What is going to happen to residents in a state that lives by homophobic religious hate, when one person of a married couple is in the hospital and the other person is not allow the rights to see them, like in a heterosexuals’ marriage.
    If Supreme Court Justice Thomas, is really willing to reverse these rights to marriage to ALL CITIZENS, then he had better be ready for the legal firestorm that is going to happen.
    If the SCOTUS cannot protect all of the citizens of America, then those members, should be removed from the highest court of the land.
    Let’s remember one important fact on the rights to marriage. It’s not the church that grants the right to marriage, it’s the government of the people and the courts that grant that right, so then if they grant the right to marriage and TAX it as a right too marriage, then how can the SCOTUS and all lawmakers pass laws that will deny one couple the right to marriage, and yet OK the right to marriage to another couple. The church only performs the service, it the marrying couples so wishes, or the local/ state government performs the service.
    So then, how do you discriminate against a Same Gender Couple, while in the next breath, you allow a heterosexual couple the right to marriage.
    Pass this Gay and Interracial Marriage Protection Bill, and stop the religious hate used to deny American citizens their Constitution Rights.

    Remember that the front of the SCOTUS says these words;

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