U.S. House Approves Carbajal-Backed Bill to Protect Marriage Equality

House approves bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act co-sponsored by Carbajal after recent Supreme Court opinion striking down Roe v Wade opened door to overturning other fundamental rights

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Congressman Salud Carbajal to enshrine the marriage equality for same sex and interracial couples, repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality.

In a vote of 267 to 157, the House today approved the Respect for Marriage Act to codify the right of marriage of equality guaranteed by Supreme Court decisions in Obergefell and Loving, and prohibit states from denying the marriages of other states based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the spouses.

“In 2014, we celebrated the landmark marriage equality win for same-sex couples in our nation’s highest court, just as our previous generation had celebrated the same win for interracial couples nearly fifty years before. But unfortunately, our current radical Supreme Court has not only gutted reproductive rights, they’ve done so by explicitly opening the door to overturning other fundamental rights for millions of Americans,” said Congressman Carbajal. “I will not stand idly by while this far-right Court erodes the rights of Californians. That is why I backed this bipartisan bill to make it clear that these rights that have been acknowledged by previous courts cannot and should not be denied.”

Today’s vote in the House comes less than a month after a recent Supreme Court decision overturned the right to abortion while opening the door to undoing other fundamental rights—including targeting the Constitutional basis for same-sex and interracial marriage equality.

The Respect for Marriage Act would:

  • Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell. This unconstitutional and discriminatory law, however, still officially remains on the books. The 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 enjoy 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 color of 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.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading national organizations including: ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center, and PFLAG.

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