Legislators seek to protect rights previously established by Supreme Court in wake of Roe v. Wade overruling.
Some legislators in Congress have taken the first step to codify same-sex “marriage,” much as some want to codify Roe v. Wade.
Democrats have introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, an Orwellian-named bill meant to forestall any threats posed by future Supreme Court rulings on same-sex “marriage.”
The legislation would mandate that the federal government recognize a marriage if it was valid in the state where it was performed. Currently, about 30 states currently prohibit same-sex marriage, and if the court overturned Obergefell, presumably some or all of those prohibitions would go back into effect.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the Supreme Court “may take aim at other fundamental rights” and that “we cannot sit idly by.”
When the court overturned Roe v. Wade in its June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson decision, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote in the majority opinion that although the justices find no constitutional right to abortion, other recent court findings, such as the right of members of the same sex to marry, are safe. Justice Clarence Thomas, however, wrote in a concurring opinion, that the court ought to reexamine the panel’s “substantive due process” reasoning in decisions ranging from Griswold v. Connecticut, which established a “right to privacy” in regards to a married couple’s use of contraceptives, to Lawrence v. Texas, which in 2003 decriminalized sodomy, to Obergefell v. Hodges, which green-lighted same-sex marriage nationwide.
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a law that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Though still on the books, the law was effectively sidelined by Obama-era court rulings, including Obergefell.
The Democrats’ new bill also would provide legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses and benefits on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin, Associated Press reported.
AP’s Lisa Mascaro said that “Tuesday’s vote in the House is part political strategy setting up an election-year roll call that will force all lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, to go on the record with their views on the high-profile social issue. It’s also part of the legislative branch asserting its authority, pushing back against an aggressive court that appears intent on revisiting many settled U.S. laws.”
The bill is expected to pass in the House of Representatives but encounter Republican opposition in the Senate.
“It’s one of several bills, including those enshrining abortion access, that Democrats are pushing to confront the court’s conservative majority,” said AP. “Another bill, guaranteeing access to contraceptive services, is set for a vote later this week.”