The United States House of Representatives voted 258-169 on Thursday to enshrine same-sex marriage rights into law, despite objections from most Republican members who claim the bill’s language violates religious freedoms. The bill has already been forwarded to President Biden for his signature.
House Democrats approved — with the help from some of the Republicans — the Respect of Marriage Act, which overturns the Defense of Marriage Act that defined by law marriage as being between one man and one woman and empowered states not to acknowledge same-sex nuptials from other states.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated last week that the house will vote on the bill on Tuesday, but members delayed the vote until Thursday due to a packed lame-duck session before the finish of the year.
The law would not oblige states to allow same-sex people to marry under the High Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. It would, however, make it so that every “person acting beneath color of State law” completely acknowledges marriage between two individuals in some other state and also that the federal govt. must recognize nuptials if they were lawful in the state where the marriage happened.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said when the lower house enacted a prior bill version, “it is important to make sure that federal law is there to protect anyone whose constitutional rights might be endangered by Republican-controlled state governments.”
“LGBTQ Americans and those who are in interracial marriages ought to have clarity that they will always have their right to an equal marriage accepted, no matter where it is located,” Hoyer stated.
The decision comes after U.S. senators passed groundbreaking legislation, that also codifies federal rights for mixed couples, by a vote of 61-36 last week, after Democrats In the senate fought hard to secure 10 Republican votes – enough to overcome a filibuster.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) urged his Republican colleagues in support of the proposal to also include protections for anybody with a religious belief and moral conscience that marriage pertains to one man and one woman.
Lee sponsored an amendment barring government bureaucrats from discriminating against persons, groups, and other religious institutions by removing away tax-exempt status, licenses, contracts, or other privileges.
“Rather than exposing churches, religious charities, and persons of faith to unwarranted scrutiny or penalty by the federal govt. because of their beliefs on marriage,” he wrote. “As we go forward, let us make certain that churches, religious organizations, and religious universities are not involved in initial litigation.”
The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk, where he has promised to sign it into law.