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House passes Respect for Marriage Act to protect same-sex and interracial marriage

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that provides federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriage. Called the Respect for Marriage Act, the measure won bipartisan support in the Democratic-led House, after the lower chamber passed this summer a version of the bill with backing from 47 Republicans. The House vote to give final approval to the legislation was 258 to 169, with one Republican voting “present.” Thirty-nine GOP lawmakers joined all Democrats in supporting the bill.

The Respect for Marriage Act now heads to President Biden’s desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. It had passed the Senate 61-36.  Mr. Biden said the measure’s passage will provide peace off mind to LGBTQI+ and interracial couples now guaranteed federal protections.  The White House said in a statement: “Congress has restored a measure of security to millions of marriages and families. They have also provided hope and dignity to millions of young people across this country who can grow up knowing that their government will recognize and respect the families they build.”

The legislation requires the federal government and all states to recognize marriages if the pair was wed in a state where the union was legal. It also cements protections for interracial couples, ordering states to recognize marriages regardless of “the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.” It also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and refers to the word spouse as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”

Editorial credit: Michael Candelori / Shutterstock.com

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