This week, lawmakers passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a rather large outing of bipartisan support. The act ensures the protection of same-sex and interracial marriages across the federal level.
The act is a direct repealing of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), effective since 1995, in which lawmakers established a federal definition of marriage; "marriage" as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. DOMA allowed state governments the ability to not officially recognize same-sex marriages until the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional to do so in Obergefell v Hodges. The court's decision protected this privilege; however, DOMA was not officially repealed in the U.S code.
Congressional leaders deliberated the necessity of passing such a bill throughout the day as Republican lawmakers saw it as a diversion to avoid "actual" problems afflicting the nation.
The intensity to pass bills protecting the rights of LGBTQ members comes as a result of the Supreme Courts' decision on Roe V Wade last month. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Clarence insinuated questioning whether past court decisions on same-sex marriage and contraception were viable. His comments sparked outrage across the nation as LQBTQ rights were feared to be taken away.
Democratic lawmakers have thus used this decision as an opportunity to pass federal laws dedicated to protecting these rights. Last week, Democratic leaders passed two bills ensuring and protecting the ability to abortion across state lines.
Although these laws have passed in the House, the most challenging task facing supporters of these bills is their passing in the Senate. Senate Republicans seem to be indecisive in their decision on the bill. Senator Marco Rubio openly opposed the bill and referred to its passing as "stupid" in a recent dialogue with CNN. Senator Romney was not worried about the bill as he stated Obergefell still protects the right.
In a recent Gallup poll conducted last month, roughly seventy-one percent of Americans support same-sex marriage. The opposition continues to hold a place in conservative households and traditionally conservative states.
The bill had passed in the House in a 267-157 vote. All democratic representatives and forty-seven Republicans voted in favor of the bill.