Politics A look at pending laws to protect same-sex marriage

A look at pending laws to protect same-sex marriage


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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Respect for Marriage Act, now pending in the SenateA Supreme Court reversal of the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which declared it a constitutional right, would ensure same-sex marriage is still legally recognized nationwide. For gay marriage.

The House-passed legislation has some Republican support and is expected to come up for a vote in September. It’s part of an effort by Democrats to protect various rights after the Supreme Court overturned the decision last month Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all states.

While the Senate is not expected to pass separate House bills to legalize abortion or protect contraceptive rights, the same-sex marriage law passed after some Republican senators indicated they would vote for it. Democrats need 10 GOP votes to overcome a filibuster and get the legislation through the Senate 50-50.


A look at the bill:

Protects, but does not codify

The bill was drafted to protect same-sex marriage after Justice Clarence Thomas suggested in a concurring opinion that the Obergefell decision upholding same-sex marriage should also be reconsidered.

The legislation does not codify or enact Obergefell, which now requires states to issue same-sex marriage licenses. If the bill passes and Obergefell is later overturned, some states could stop issuing those licenses, but all states would still be required to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.


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  • The practical effect of that is that some people cannot marry in their home states, but all same-sex marriages continue to be recognized and qualify for the legal benefits of marriage.

    Wisconsin Sen. Tommy Baldwin, the top Democrat pushing the bill in the Senate, said the law was written that way because marriage is currently regulated by the states, not the federal government. Any legislation requiring federal regulation of marriage is unlikely to gain enough support to pass.

    Abolish the Protection of Marriage Act

    If Obergefell were overturned today, the federal law would partially revert to the 1996 law Defense of Marriage Act. That law allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages and legally defined the term “marriage” as a union between one man and one woman.

    The bill would repeal that law entirely, replacing it with a requirement that states and the federal government consider a person legally married in any state to be married.

    A separate 2013 Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, dissolved As part of the Defense of Marriage Act, legally married same-sex couples are excluded from federal tax, health and pension benefits available to married couples. The bill includes provisions to extend those benefits to same-sex couples.

    Inter-caste marriage

    In addition to same-sex marriage, the bill protects interracial marriages, as affirmed by the 1960s Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia. That decision overturned state laws Bans inter-caste marriages.

    The bill prohibits states from “denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the persons in the marriage.”


    Associated Press writer Mark Sherman in Washington contributed to this report.

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