Home Abigail Spanberger US House Votes 267-157 to Protect Marriage Equality for Same-Sex and Interracial...

US House Votes 267-157 to Protect Marriage Equality for Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage; All Dems Vote YES; 157 Republicans (Including All Four From Virginia) Vote NO

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See below for statements by Virginia’s U.S. House Democrats regarding the passage a little while ago of “H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, to protect marriage equality for same-sex and interracial marriages.” The vote was 267-157, with all Democrats – obviously – voting YES, joined by 47 Republicans (157 Republicans voted NO, including all four Virginia anti-LGBTQ Republicans – Rob Wittman, Bob Good, Ben Cline and Morgan Griffith…of course).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 19, 2022

McEachin Helps Pass the Respect for Marriage Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted in support of H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, to protect marriage equality for same-sex and interracial marriages.

“The Supreme Court’s recent departure from judicial precedent and Justice Thomas’s concurrence in Dobbs ­has left many families worried about their future,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “This far-right Supreme Court threatens constitutional rights that millions of Americans currently enjoy. We saw it happen with reproductive health care, and now Justice Thomas has called into question access to contraception, marriage equality, and the legality of same-sex relations. We will not stand idly by why these rights are undermined.”

Rep. McEachin, a proud member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, is an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. He has long advocated for equal protections for the LGBTQ+ community and continues those efforts with the Respect for Marriage Act, which will:

  • Repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Although this law was rendered inert by the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decisions, it remains on the books. Enacting the Respect for Marriage Act would finally erase the discriminatory law from the U.S. code.
  • Protect marriage equality for federal purposes by ensuring that for federal law purposes people are considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
  • Provide additional protections at the state level by prohibiting 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 people in the marriage.

“I am proud to cosponsor and help pass the Respect for Marriage Act to codify marriage equality into federal law and defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community,” continued Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Today, we took an important step in defending the many families and children who rely on the constitutional right to marriage equality. I urge the Senate to move this legislation forward expeditiously to ensure it remains the law of the land.”

Read a summary of H.R. 8404 here.

Spanberger Votes to Protect Marriage Equality

The “Respect for Marriage Act” Would Repeal DOMA, Enshrine Marriage Equality, & Provide Legal Protections for Married Couples Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today voted with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House to protect the rights of same-sex and interracial couples.

While marriage equality remains constitutionally protected, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson could be used in the future to threaten other fundamental rights — including the right to marriage equality. In his concurring opinion in Dobbs, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called for the Supreme Court to reconsider its decisions protecting other fundamental rights — including the right to same-sex marriage recognized in Obergefell v. Hodges. The right to interracial marriage also relies on the same constitutional doctrines as the right to same-sex marriage — therefore leaving it also vulnerable to a legal challenge.

Spanberger cosponsored and voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would enshrine marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples as guaranteed by Obergefell vs. Hodges and Loving v. Virginia. The bill would also provide additional legal protections for marriage equality.

“Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, thousands of Virginia families have been subjected to watching their marriages now being callously questioned by prominent officials. Same-sex and interracial couples are not concepts that should be put up for debate — they are Americans to defend at a time of uncertainty,” said Spanberger. “This moment requires lawmakers to stand with the people they represent, because if decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges and Loving v. Virginia come under threat in the wake of Dobbs, the consequences could be devastating for far too many Americans — including in Virginia. Today, I proudly voted to stand with same-sex couples, interracial couples, and their loved ones —and I will take this vote 1,000 times if it means protecting these constituents and their families from discrimination.”

The Respect for Marriage Act would:

  • Repeal DOMA. The Supreme Court effectively rendered the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. However, DOMA officially remains on the books. The bill would repeal this statute.
  • 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 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 was introduced in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10) and David Cicilline (D-RI-01). A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

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