House passes bill enshrining federal protections for same-sex marriage

House passes bill enshrining federal protections for same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON - The House passed legislation on Thursday that enshrines federal protections for marriages of same-sex and interracial couples.

The 258 - 169 vote sends the Respect for Marriage Act to President Joe Biden, who championed the bill and is expected to sign it into law. It came after the Senate passed the same bill by a vote of 61 -- 36 last week.

The Democrats voted to pass the bill, while most Republicans in both chambers voted against it. Thirty-nine House Republicans voted on the legislation Thursday and one voted for it.

Your love is your choice, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. After overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court nominees say there is no reason to believe that Republican appointees on the Supreme Court won't revisit precedents on LGBTQ rights. I am shocked that conservatives that have a libertarian bent believe that somehow we should get involved in this, he said. It is not the government's business. The legislation, led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, would ensure that the federal government recognizes marriages that were validly performed and guarantee full benefits regardless of the couple's sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. It would not require states to issue marriage licenses that are contrary to state law.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was present to givel down the vote and announce the bill's passage. On the Democratic side of the chamber, loud applause broke out, while a number of Republicans joined in clapping.

The bill was amended in response to Senate GOP demands. It clarified that religious organizations won't be required to perform same-sex marriages and that government won't have to protect polygamous marriages.

The House had to vote again after passing an earlier version in July after the revisions to the bill.

The legislation is being passed amid concerns that the conservative Supreme Court majority might revisit the right to same-sex marriage after it rescinded the right to abortion. According to Gallup tracking polls, the U.S. public support for legal same-sex marriage increased from 27% in 1996 to a new high of 71% in June.

In the Senate, 12 Republicans voted with unanimous Democrats to pass the bill, which sent it back to the House. The GOP supporters made up an eclectic group, including retiring senators. Robert Burr of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri and Rob Portman of Ohio are centrist deal-makers like Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a leadership member in Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa and conservative Sens. Todd Young of Indiana, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.