Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas stated in his concurring opinion that the high court should be open to relooking at cases concerning due process precedents such as the right to contraceptives. Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Breen (R-Indiana) have openly questioned the legality of marriage rights established in cases like Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges. A group made up, and House and Senate Democrats hope to counter that with legislation aimed to protect same-sex and interracial marriages, The Hill reports.
A roll-call style vote will require all Republican and Democrat lawmakers to go on the record with their views. The Respect for Marriage Act would fully repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as a union between a man and woman only. The 2013 Supreme Court ruled that the section of DOMA which barred the government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. However, much of the law remains today.
In addition to same-sex marriage protections, the Respect for Marriage Act would also provide legal protections for interracial marriages by “prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses and benefits based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”
“LGBTQ Americans and those in interracial marriages deserve to have certainty that they will continue to have their right to equal marriage recognized, no matter where they live, should the Court act on Justice Thomas’ draconian suggestion,” Hoyer said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) spoke directly about Justice Thomas’s inference that the conservative-dominated court will seek to overturn many of the rights we still have. The House also plans to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022, restoring the abortion rights struck down by the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“If Justice Thomas’s concurrence teaches anything it’s that we cannot let your guard down or the rights and freedoms that we have come to cherish will vanish into a cloud of radical ideology and dubious legal reasoning,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), one of the bill’s sponsors, said Monday in a statement. “As this Court may take aim at other fundamental rights, we cannot sit idly by as the hard-earned gains of the Equality movement are systematically eroded.
The GOP sponsor of the bill, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said The Respect for Marriage Act is “another step to promote equality, prevent discrimination, and protect the rights of all Americans.” The House floor vote will happen this week and is expected to pass. However, it will have very slim chances of that same fate on the Senate floor.