Respect for Marriage Act Passed


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The House of Representatives gave Congressional approval for legislation of federal recognition of same-sex marriage on Thursday, December 8. This resulted from concern that the Supreme Court would revise and reverse its protection of legal same-sex marriage. The success of this bill reflects a broad cultural and political shift in society on the issue of same-sex marriage and recognition of LGBTQIA+ rights. The community has grown to be widely accepted in America, and the passing of this act is another step towards universal acceptance and awareness. 

 The final house vote was 258-169, with all serving Democrats and 39 Republicans voting in favor. The bill was then transferred to the desk of President Joe Biden for the final signature into law. 

“Today, we stand up for the values the vast majority of Americans hold dear: A belief in the dignity, beauty and divinity — spark of divinity — in every person, and abiding respect for love so powerful that it binds two people together,” Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said, as quoted by The New York Times ( Pelosi made this statement prior to the House vote.

The push to pass this legislation grew out of concern upon the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas brought about the idea of reconsidering marriage equality precedents, according to The New York Times ( The passing repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage solely as a connection between a woman and a man, and allowed states to refuse the honor of same-sex relationships. The passing of the Respect for Marriage Act undermines this and prohibits states from denying the validity of out-of-state marriages based on sex, race, or ethnicity. “This bill is completely necessary and relieving considering the state of protective rights back in June. This is a great bill to pass to protect inclusion of marriages, and I am extremely excited about it,” junior Kerry Cullen expressed. 

The vote was a grand leap towards universal acceptance; however, the vote was not unanimous. Many Congresspersons and open members of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress; Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian elected to Congress; and many more gave impactful speeches that brought audience members to tears. They shared their experiences of being members of the LGBTQIA+ community and showed their support for giving people the certainty that their marriages are legal, and that all will continue to have the same rights of every other married couple. The majority of members of the Republican Party voted against the bill, and they too shared their opinion on its passing. Instead of showing their support, they shared their fear regarding the bill’s passage, and many agreed that it was a violation of the Bible’s definition of marriage. 

Sophomore Gianna Longo passionately said, “It is a milestone in American history that same-sex marriage is now protected by the government, and it provides an opportunity to reflect as a country on how long it took us to get to this place. This bill should have been passed years ago. I also want to touch on the fact that Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Republican representative from Missouri, spoke to fellow members of Congress and urged them to vote against the bill. The same congressperson has a gay nephew. Same-sex marriage should not be so controversial or divisive that families in government are splitting over the matter. Just let people marry who they want to marry! Someone else’s sexual orientation and preferences are none of your business.” Sophomore Miranda Mangru agreed: “The fact that we need a bill to protect the rights of who chooses to marry [whom], of any sex, race, or gender, is absurd. There should not be a need for it, but unfortunately, society does not function in such a way. This bill will help support the marriage of couples who are different from societal norms and will hopefully help them feel safe to love [whomever] they want,” she said.

The definition of marriage has been amended, with the Respect for Marriage Act solidifying it. Marriage is the exclusive, conjugal union of two people, not necessarily between a man and a woman. The passing of this bill has proved to be a win for the LGBTQIA+ community, posing a precedent for generations to come. Because of the Respect for Marriage Act, couples no longer need to wonder whether their marriages are legal.