WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House of Representatives today passed the Respect for Marriage Act, H.R. 8404, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enshrine marriage equality for the purposes of federal law, and provide additional legal protections from individuals seeking to undermine marriage equality at the state level. This is the first time the Respect for Marriage Act has passed the House of Representatives. The bill was approved by a vote of 267 to 157, with 47 Republicans voting in favor.
“I first filed the Respect for Marriage Act over a decade ago. Since then, the fight for marriage equality has seen many highs and lows, but perhaps none more frightening than the current threat posed by Clarence Thomas and this conservative Supreme Court,” said Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “I, along with my Democratic colleagues, will not be idle bystanders while the constitutional rights and freedoms that underpin our democracy are shredded. Today’s vote was about protecting the children and loving families whose whole lives rely on the constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will take up this bipartisan bill without delay and provide much needed stability and certainty for the families that have been shaken to their core by Justice Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v Jackson.”
The Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404) would:
Repeal DOMA. The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell. This unconstitutional and discriminatory law, however, still officially remains on the books. The bill would repeal this statute once and for all.
Enshrine Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes. The bill requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. This gives same sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires.
Provide Additional Legal Protections from Individuals Seeking to Undermine Marriage Equality While Acting Under Color of State Law. The bill prohibits any person acting under color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out of state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage, provides the Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions, and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.
Nadler continued: “I want to thank those of my Republican colleagues who had the courage to stand up for children and families and voted to protect the constitutional right to marriage equality. I also want to thank and congratulate the countless number of advocates across the country who have fought tirelessly for decades for marriage equality. They have never wavered and never lost sight of the goal and, ultimately, today’s historic vote was only possible because of their selfless determination and hard work.