U.S. House Approves Carbajal-Backed Bill to Enshrine Marriage Equality, Sends Bill to President Biden

House approves bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act co-sponsored by Carbajal to uphold marriage equality under federal law

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to send a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Congressman Salud Carbajal codifying marriage equality for same sex and interracial couples to President Biden’s desk. 

In a vote of 258 to 169, the House today approved the Respect for Marriage Act to codify in federal law 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.

The legislation, which passed the Senate last week and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden in the coming days, also repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and provides additional legal protections for same-sex and interracial couples.

“Just less than a decade ago, we celebrated the landmark decision that affirmed the right for millions of Americans to marry the person they love, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Unfortunately, last year the radical Supreme Court explicitly opened the door to attacking that right, for both same-sex and interracial couples, as they gutting the right to reproductive health care,” said Congressman Carbajal. “My colleagues and I are not going to stand by as our courts threaten this important progress that we have made. We are acting to codify marriage equality and make it clear to our Supreme Court that this right is not theirs to erase. I am proud to cosponsor this important affirmation of the rights of millions, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law in the near future.”

In July, the Supreme Court overturned the right to abortion and opened the door to eroding other fundamental rights—including the Constitutional basis for rulings that affirmed same-sex and interracial marriage equality.

The Respect for Marriage Act will:

  • 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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