The Respect for Marriage Act is a critical piece of federal legislation that would improve the lives of millions of families around the country. The bill passed the House with bipartisan support in July 2022, final vote 267–157, including 47 Republicans voting yes. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enshrine marriage equality for the purposes of federal law, and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in July 2022.
In the ad, married gay dads Kent and Diego describe how the overturning of Roe v Wade threatens LGBTQ families and their marriages. “When the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, we both looked at each other and said, I think our family could be at risk,” they say. “When we fought for marriage equality, we never thought that we would be at risk of having it taken away. Politicians are forgetting that there are people behind the policies. We just refuse to step back anymore.”
Watch the ad and embed it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxYRfUbLpMw
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted, “Leadership in the U.S. Senate pledged to advance the Respect for Marriage Act right after the midterm election so now is the time to make good on their promise. Given Justice Thomas’ stated intent to roll back protections for LGBTQ Americans, it is absolutely vital that the U.S. Senate steps up to pass the Respect For Marriage Act and enshrine existing protections for LGBTQ couples and families, as well as interracial couples, into federal law. A majority of Americans from all walks of life support marriage equality, because they know LGBTQ people and they know our families deserve the protections that only marriage affords. We join other LGBTQ leaders to call on the Senate to act now, to pass this key bipartisan bill and protect all of our families.”
A record high number of Americans, 71%, support marriage equality, seven years after it was legalized nationwide in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.
The Respect for Marriage Act would:
- Repeal DOMA. The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell, but DOMA is still officially on the books. The new bill would repeal this statute once and for all.
- Enshrine Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes. The bill requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. This gives same sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to receive equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires.
- Provide Additional Legal Protections. The bill prohibits any person acting under state law from denying full faith and credit to an out of state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage, provides the Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions, and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurrence in the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, wrote that the Court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Griswold decided that the Constitution protected privacy of marital couples to contraception; Lawrence protects privacy in same-sex relationships; Obergefell legalized marriage equality nationwide. Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito also issued a formal rebuke of Obergefell on the Court’s opening day in October 2020.
GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide has guidance for reporters covering LGBTQ couples and families accurately and inclusively.
The US Senate is expected to vote on the Respect for Marriage Act soon. Call your Senators right now and urge them to vote YES on the Respect For Marriage Act (202) 224-3121 www.glaad.org/respect
UPDATE: On Monday Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) filed the Respect for Marriage Act “setting up a first procedural vote for Wednesday on the bill that would enshrine marriage equality into federal law,” reports the Washington Post. CBS News adds, “A bipartisan group of senators announced Monday that they reached agreement on revised legislation that would enshrine marriage equality into federal law and provide protections for religious liberties, assuaging concerns from some Republican members who feared that the measure could infringe on religious freedom while paving the way for the Senate to take up the bill this week.”
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.