by Elizabeth Bibi •
Salt Lake City, UT — As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, the voices of hundreds of Utahns today were brought directly to Sen. Mitt Romney’s office in downtown Salt Lake City, as constituents delivered hundreds of petition signatures from across the state urging the senator to vote in support of the bill. The petition signature drop off — organized by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Equality Utah — builds on the growing momentum across the state in support of the legislation, which all members of Utah’s U.S. House delegation also supported during the U.S. House vote in July.
In recent days, Utahns working with HRC and Equality Utah have made almost 4,000 constituent contacts to Sen. Romney — including phone calls and letters — urging his support.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity to commit themselves to the person they love, start a family, and to ultimately build and share a life together,” said Nick Kiahtipes, HRC Board of Governors and Steering Committee Member. “The Respect for Marriage Act isn’t just about our shared values, it’s about family values. Same-sex couples across Utah marry for the same reasons everyone does — to make that lifelong bond with the person they love, and to build loving families. Everyone deserves that opportunity, which is why we’re calling on Sen. Romney to support this important pro-family legislation.”
“We were thrilled to see the unified vote of Utah’s entire congressional delegation supporting the Respect for Marriage Act. Their vote affirmed that equality and love are not liberal or conservative values, they are American values,” said Troy Williams Executive Director of Equality Utah. “We look forward to the Respect for Marriage Act moving on to the Senate where we urge Senator Romney to also vote to affirmatively protect marriage equality. Doing so, will ensure that these enduring legal protections will continue to strengthen and bless LGBTQ families in Utah.”
HRC and Equality Utah have activated a vast and highly-engaged grassroots effort across the state, to mobilize voters in support of the legislation. HRC has activated its grassroots network of members, volunteers and supporters in the state to mobilize the more than 90,000 Equality Voters in Utah — who are among the more than 62 million Equality Voters in the nation made up of LGBTQ+ people and allies who prioritize LGBTQ+ equality at the ballot box.
Below is additional background information on support for marriage equality in Utah and across the country, as well as an overview of the key provisions of the Respect for Marriage Act.
Utahns are Champions for Marriage Equality.
56% of Utah residents support same sex marriage, according to a 2022 PRRI survey.
All four of Utah’s Republican U.S. Representatives voted to protect same-sex marriage last week.
Sen. Romney is Undecided.
Sen. Mitt Romney: “We all know what the law is and I don’t see the law changing, so it’s not something I’m giving consideration to at this stage,” he said, adding he would focus on the proposal “if it comes our way.” [The Hill]
More Than Two-Thirds of Americans Support Marriage Equality.
According to Gallup, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. The latest survey from PRRI this year found that support for marriage equality has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Republicans are now nearly evenly divided over marriage equality (48% support, 50% oppose), while 81% of Democrats and 73% of independents favor marriage equality. Today, majorities of most religious groups favor 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.
Key Provisions of the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’
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 carves 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 was 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 still 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.
Formed in 2001, Equality Utah is the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy group in the state. Its mission is to secure equal rights and protections for LGBTQ Utahns and their families, and its vision is of a fair and just Utah. For more information, please visit equalityutah.org.
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