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House of Representatives passes Respect for Marriage Act

WASHINGTON D.C.– Last week the Respect for Marriage Act passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. Marriage equality enjoys broad and party support, as seen by the passage of the law by a vote of 267 to 157 and the support of 47 Republicans. 


The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was discriminating against LGBTQ+ couples, would be repealed under this law, and it would be affirmed that all states should recognize public acts, documents, and proceedings. HRC applauds the House of Representatives for advancing this crucial legislation and now urges the U.S. Senate to do the same by passing it quickly.


DOMA was introduced in 1996, and gave states the option of declining recognition of legal same-sex marriages. Second, regardless of their marital status, Section 3 of the bill exempts all same-sex couples from all legal provisions, depriving them of more than 1,100 government benefits and protections. While rendered ineffective by two Supreme Court hearings in 2013 and 2015, effects of the bill are still felt today. 


A provision of the Respect for Marriage Act is to fully repeal DOMA, which would ensure marriage equality for the near future. With the turbidity within the Supreme Court in the past couple years, repealing the DOMA Act would guarantee marriage equality even if the Supreme Court overturned their previous rulings. 


Another provision is to confirm that the criteria for receiving government benefits for same-sex marriage is "site of celebration". Under this clause, if marriage equality is not recognized in a given state, same-sex couples who go to another state to marry - one where same-sex marriages are still recognized - will still be eligible for federal marriage benefits.


Additionally, all states should acknowledge public acts, records, and proceedings. In accordance with the Full Faith and Credit provision of the US Constitution, all states are required to uphold adoption decisions, divorce judgments, and other official actions.


Another provision includes the codifying of the rights granted by the Obergefell and Windsor Supreme Court decisions. Marriage equality restrictions were declared to be unlawful in the landmark decision.


The Respect for Marriage Act was passed in the House of Representatives last week and now moves up to the Senate. If passed, marriage equality would be federally ensured for the near future.

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