US House of Representatives approves bill protecting same-sex marriage

The bill was passed by a vote on Tuesday, July 19, with 267 of those present in favour and 157 against.

A gay couple being married after House of Representatives votes to protect LGBTQ+ rights.
Image: Pexels

In a bid to protect LGBTQ+ rights from the Supreme Court, the US House of Representatives has voted in favour of codifying same-sex marriage. This comes after the court overturned the historic 1973 Roe v Wade ruling on June 24, therefore removing the constitutional right to abortion which had been in place for fifty years.

Following the decision, Justice Clarence Thomas also suggested that the Supreme Court should “reconsider” various rulings including those that made same-sex relationships, same-sex marriage, and contraception legal.

To counteract this, the US House of Representatives introduced the Respect for Marriage Act which effectively would codify same-sex marriage and grant queer couples various federal protections. In a vote held on Tuesday, July 19, the bill was passed with 267 in favour and 157 against. The legislation also formally appeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which deemed marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

According to ABC News, Rep. Jerry Nadler stated that the Respect for Marriage Act was developed to “reaffirm that marriage equality is and must remain the law of the land”.

“Congress should provide additional reassurance that marriage equality is a matter of settled law,” he continued.

“All married people who are building their lives together must know that the government will respect and recognise their marriages for all time.”

Nancy Pelosi added to the conversation, saying: “This bill makes crystal clear that every couple and their children has the fundamental freedom to take pride in their marriage and have their marriage respected under the law.”

The bill must now pass through the senate which has a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans. 60 votes are needed to progress the legislation, and in the House of Representatives, just 47 out of 204 Republicans were in favour.

This comes as pro-chance campaigners continue to protest the loss of abortion rights in the US. On the same day that the House of Representatives voted on protecting same-sex marriage, multiple members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, were arrested by Capitol Police for blocking traffic outside the Supreme Court in an abortion rights demonstration. 

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