ICYMI: NBC: Opponents Of Same-Sex Marriage Face An Uphill Climb. They Should Give Up.

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

HRC Interim President Joni Madison Writes in an Op-Ed: ‘47 House Republicans who voted in favor of marriage equality understood that voting no would go against the views of many constituents — including other Republicans.’

In the lead-up to the Senate’s vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Interim President Joni Madison published an op-ed in NBC THINK about how the bipartisan vote for the legislation in the House of Representatives demonstrates widespread support for marriage equality – and the uphill climb anti-equality opponents will face if they want to roll back this right. The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the House 267-157 and garnered 47 Republican votes, will guarantee 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.



“There’s no way around it, we are living in a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, for women, and for people of color. But our opponents will have an uphill climb if they want to roll back all of our rights. That was evident in the way the Respect for Marriage Act sailed through the House of Representatives 267-157 on Tuesday.”

In a rare show of bipartisanship, 47 House Republicans from all over this country – North Dakota, Utah, Nebraska, Florida, Texas, Iowa, and South Carolina – including the third-ranking House Republican, Elise Stefanik — voted to protect marriage equality.”

“With the devastating decision to overturn Roe v. Wade… many people fear that other court-protected civil rights could also be on the line — including marriage equality. Tuesday’s vote gave those who were worried about what the Dobbs decision could mean for their marriages a brief moment to exhale because it proved once again that marriage equality enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

“That’s why a move like we saw on Tuesday was crucial. While bipartisanship in Congress may shock you, Republican support for marriage equality shouldn’t.”

The 47 votes they casted in favor of the House’s Respect for Marriage Act demonstrate that even Republican lawmakers know marriage equality — which is supported by 7 in 10 Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll — is (and must remain) the law of the land.

“The end of marriage equality would have catastrophic consequences, much like the devastating consequences of the Dobbs decision. But it is clear that our opponents have a hard fight ahead of them if they come after our marriages because we are on high alert. The LGTBQ+ community has been living in a state of emergency, and we are ready for this fight. Widespread support for marriage equality is rising too fast to be ignored, and the American people, including many in the Republican Party, are with us.”

“For now, the Respect for Marriage Act is in the hands of the Senate. I strongly urge senators to follow the example set by their colleagues in the House and vote to pass this bill to protect the rights given in Obergefell that so many same-sex couples rely upon.”

More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality

The latest survey from PRRI this year on support for LGBTQ+ rights showed nearly seven in ten Americans (68%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. Support has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Republicans are now nearly evenly divided over same-sex marriage (48% support, 50% oppose), while 81% of Democrats and 73% of independents favor marriage equality. 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 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 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 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.


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