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The Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex couples when voting in the Senate

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The Senate is set to pass the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, which would enshrine marriage equality in federal law, granting protections to same-sex and interracial couples.

Enough senators are expected to back the bill — which includes a bipartisan amendment that clarifies religious freedom protections — for it to be adopted in a vote scheduled for late Tuesday afternoon. In a procedural vote on Monday, the Senate advanced the bill 61-35, exceeding the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. If the Senate passes the bill, the amended version would come back to the House for another vote before it could be sent to President Biden to sign the law.

“The rights of all married couples will never be truly secure without the proper protections under federal law. And that is why the Respect for Marriage Act is needed,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said Monday. “Passing this bill is our chance to send a message to Americans everywhere: no matter who you are, who you love, you deserve dignity and equal treatment under the law. about as american [an] ideal as it stands.

The Respect for Marriage Act would not require states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but would require people to be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state. where it was celebrated. The bill would also repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. . This law remained in force despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015. in power in Oberfelfell v. Hodges.

“Whether it’s a family member, friend or staff member, we all know someone who is in a same-sex or interracial marriage,” said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the first person openly homosexual elected to the Senate. , tweeted Monday. “That’s why I work across party lines to make sure their marriages are protected.”

Baudouin was part of a bipartisan group that had tried to find 10 Republican votes needed for the bill to pass in September, and ultimately negotiated a delay in the vote until after the midterm elections. The group – which included Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Thom Tillis (RN.C.) – also worked on an amendment to the bill to assuage some Republicans’ concerns about religious freedom.

Among other things, the amendment clarifies that the bill does not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriages and confirms that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide “services, facilities or goods for the solemnization or solemnization of a marriage”.

Several religious leaders and groups have spoken out in support of the amended bill, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In a joint statement earlier this month, the bipartisan group of senators that worked on the amendment touted its protections for religious freedoms as much as protections for same-sex and interracial couples.

“We look forward to this legislation being introduced and are confident that this amendment has helped gain the broad bipartisan support needed to pass our common sense legislation,” the senators said.

On Monday, Schumer said it was “remarkable” that senators from both parties are having this debate.

“Ten years ago, it would have stretched all our imaginations to imagine both sides talking about protecting the rights of same-sex married couples,” he said. “America is moving forward, albeit sometimes in difficult ways, and sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back. But today is a big step forward.”

Democrats have warned since June that federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, along with other rights, could be at risk after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, who for almost 50 years had guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States.

In its June agreement with the decision to cancel Deer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the High Court should also review previous decisions that have legalized the right to purchase and use contraception without government restriction (Griswold v. Connecticut), same-sex relationships (Lawrence v. Texas) and marriage equality (Oberfelfell v. Hodges).

“In future cases, we should reconsider all substantive due process precedents of this Court, including Griswold, Lawrence and Oberfelfell,Thomas wrote. “Because any substantive due process ruling is ‘demonstrably wrong’…we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in these precedents.”

Thomas’ opinion has set off alarm bells among proponents of marriage equality, especially with the prospect of a Republican-controlled Congress following the midterm elections. In July, the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, but the Senate postponed its vote on the bill until after the midterm elections. The decision to postpone the vote was negotiated on a bipartisan basis and was made to ensure there were enough votes to pass the measure.



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