This article was originally published by Shine.
In a landmark vote, the Senate voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act: a law designed to strengthen federal protections for same sex and interracial marriage. Per CNN, the bill received bipartisan support from all members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans for a final vote of 61-36. Next, the bill goes to the House of Representatives, where it must be approved before President Joe Biden can sign it. But we might not have to wait long for that. The House is expected to pass the bill by the end of the year, or even as early as next week.
The bill would not create a national obligation for all states to legalize same-sex marriage. This means certain states could ban same-sex marriage if the Supreme Court overturns it Obergefell v. Hodges: the 2015 decision that legalized it. However, the Respect for Marriage Act would require every state to recognize marriages from other states.
The move is in part an acknowledgment of what can happen if certain rights are not enshrined in law. Such was the case with abortion rights, as we collectively learned from the fall of Roe v. calf earlier this year. And amidst the destruction of roeJudge Clarence Thomas indicated his desire “rethink” the right to same-sex marriage and contraception also.
In the months since, steps towards anchoring have been taken abortion access and same-sex marriage as constitutional rights. It’s heartening to see at least one of these bills progressing to the final stages: clearing the President’s desk.