Same sex marriage became legal based upon two Supreme Court decisions that determined that DOMA (The Defensive of Marriage Act) was unconstitutional and thereby ultimately determined the rights of same sex couples to marry and recognized said right throughout the 50 states (you can read more about this on my blog posting last week).
The law known as DOMA still exists but was overwritten by the Supreme Court decisions. However, with the most recent Supreme Court decision overturning the landmark abortion ruling of Roe v Wade, it seems clear from Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion that the rules of marriage equality and LGBTQI Rights as well as contraception rights could be at risk.
This has spurred democrats to act. Last week the House passed a bill to codify Roe and also considered legislation this week to codify access to contraception, both of which are now in jeopardy based on the overturning of Roe. A bipartisan group of law makers have introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which will repeal DOMA and require federal recognition for same sex and interracial marriages. This would also require all states to recognize marriages that are valid in the states where they were preformed, regardless of a particular states stand on same sex marriage. This would in effect, preserve state and federal benefits for those marriages in the event the Supreme Court choses to open the door for state legislation prohibiting them.
Of course it is a long way from introduction to actually getting a bill passed. This will need to go through a committee, then brought to the House floor for a vote and if passed there, then would go to the Senate. Both the House Majority leader and the Senate Majority Whip, (both democrats). are looking to push this legislation forward and have gone as far to say that it is a top priority. Although this is a bipartisan effort, whether enough GOP votes needed to bypass the filibuster will be gained is unknown. At present, more than 20 GOP Senators have declined to stake a position.
Vote Update: Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act Passes 267-157, with 47 Republican Votes
Although some may say DOMA was rendered impendent by the Supreme Court rulings, as we saw with Roe v Wade, that could easily be overturned by the current Supreme Court bench.
For those looking to secure these rights, we cannot afford to wait and let these rights be overturned as they did with Roe v Wade. It is vital to have actual federal legislation in place protecting these rights so that we are not at the whim of the current political climate.
Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Andrew Solender, Axios(dot)com
Royalty-free photo courtesy of Pixabay
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