"We thank Majority Leader Schumer and Senators Baldwin, Collins, Feinstein, Portman, Sinema, and Tillis for their leadership on this vital bipartisan legislation that will officially strike the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act from our nation’s laws and help secure nationwide marriage equality"
Today, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that the U.S. Senate will vote on the Respect for Marriage Act this week. In response, Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement:
“We thank Majority Leader Schumer and Senators Baldwin, Collins, Feinstein, Portman, Sinema, and Tillis for their leadership on this vital bipartisan legislation that will officially strike the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act from our nation’s laws and help secure nationwide marriage equality. Because of their leadership spearheading the Respect for Marriage Act, the U.S. Senate has the opportunity to right a historic wrong, creating an inclusive law that reflects the will of the vast majority of Americans – 71% of whom support marriage equality – and eases the minds of those who may worry what the impact of the Dobbs decision could mean for their marriages. It’s time to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and we strongly urge all Senators to do so.”
The Respect for Marriage Act is legislation that would codify federal marriage equality by guaranteeing the federal rights, benefits and obligations of marriages in the federal code; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. The bill passed the House 267-157, garnering 47 Republican votes — further demonstrating that support for marriage equality is widespread and bipartisan. In the aftermath of Dobbs, it is more important than ever that we enshrine our court-protected civil liberties into law.
HRC is uniquely positioned to engage our members and supporters in favor of this legislation. We are mobilizing 233 major businesses representing over 8.5 million employees, a grassroots army of more than 3 million members, supporters and volunteers, and the nation’s 62 million “Equality Voters” to call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). To read personal stories of why marriage equality remains important to LGBTQ+ couples across the country, click here, and to watch a video featuring a D.C.-based couple, click here.
More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality
According to Gallup, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. 55% of Republicans support same-sex marriage, along with 83% of Democrats and 73% of Independents. According to recent polling from HRC, 64% of likely voters living in battleground states – AZ, CA, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI, FL, NH, NC, OH, TX, CO, and ME– support marriage equality, demonstrating the issue’s popularity even in politically divided states. The latest survey from PRRI this year found that support for marriage equality has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Today, majorities of most religious groups favor marriage equality. White evangelical Protestants (35%) and Latter-day Saints (46%) remain the only major religious groups with less than majority support for marriage equality. According to the last Census, about 58% (568,000) of couples in the nation’s 980,000 same-sex households were married and about 42% were unmarried partners.
Washington Post Op-Ed: The Senate must stand together on marriage equality
U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, published a joint op-ed in The Washington Post calling on their colleagues to come together and emulate the bipartisan vote that the Respect For Marriage Act received in the House of Representatives.
Key Excerpts from the Baldwin and Collins Op-Ed:
“Individuals in same-sex and interracial marriages need, and should have, the confidence that their marriages are legal. These loving couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms of every other marriage.”
“Over the past 30 years, Americans have grown more supportive of marriage equality. In 1996, less than one-third of Americans — a mere 27 percent — supported same-sex marriages. A quarter-century later, in 2022, more than 70 percent of Americans support marriage equality, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents.”
“This legislation has earned bipartisan support in Congress because it grants same-sex and interracial couples the certainty that they will continue to enjoy the same equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples.”
“We have worked across party lines to bring the Senate together and build support for the Respect for Marriage Act because we should be able to agree that same-sex and interracial couples, regardless of where they live, both need and deserve the assurance that their marriage will be recognized by the federal government and that they will continue to enjoy freedoms, rights and responsibilities that come with all other marriages.”
NBC Op-Ed from HRC President Joni Madison: Opponents of Marriage Equality Face an Uphill Battle
CNN Op-Ed from Match Group’s Jared Sine: Americans should be able to marry whoever they choose. But some senators don't support protecting that right
Washington Post Editorial: The Respect for Marriage Act must pass — and Republicans should support it
Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: Congress Should Codify Same-Sex Marriage
Key Provisions of the Bill
The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that marriage equality is protected nationally through several provisions:
Repealing the 1990s era Defense of Marriage Act. Passed in 1996, it discriminated in two important ways. First, Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples. Second, Section 3 of the law carved all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations and rulings applicable to all other married people — thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections. DOMA was rendered unenforceable, in two stages, by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor v. United States ruling and the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
Establishing that “place of celebration” is the standard of recognition for federal benefits of a same-sex marriage. Under this provision, if marriage equality were ever to cease to be recognized in a given state, same-sex couples who travel to get married in another state – one where same-sex marriages are recognized — would still retain federal marriage benefits.
Affirming that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. Adoption orders, divorce decrees and other public acts must be honored by all states consistent with the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution.
Codifying the federal protections conferred by the Obergefell and Windsor rulings. The landmark ruling stated that bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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