U.S. Representative Mike Quigley:
Washington, D.C. Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, released the following statement celebrating the passage of H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, protects marriage equality for federal purposes and provides additional protections at the state level:
"As an early champion of marriage equality and full and complete LGBTQ+ rights, I applaud the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. This legislation will go a long way in protecting the safeguards formerly established by the Supreme Court - constitutional rights enjoyed by millions of LGBT citizens and that reflect the core values held dear by the vast majority of Americans. No person should be told who they can or cannot marry based on sex, gender identity, or race. As we witness continued attacks against the LGBTQ community, we must do everything in our power to protect the community and their hard-won rights and stop those intent on destroying and devaluing these loving relationships.
"I am proud that today's vote protects Americans' right to marry who they love. The members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to enrich the fabric of the American soul, and I will not rest until my fellow citizens are completely and fully protected from such bigotry and hate."
Statement from Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Deputy Director of Equality Illinois, the state's LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, on final passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of the Respect for Marriage Act:
The bipartisan vote by the U.S. House today in support of the Respect for Marriage Act is an important step towards ensuring protections for LGBTQ+ families. We thank the members of the Illinois congressional delegation who voted for this initiative.
This bill (1) repeals the archaic federal statutory definition of marriage as one only between a man and a woman, (2) ensures that the federal government will provide equal benefits to all married persons, so long as the marriage was valid at the time and in the place where it was officiated, and (3) requires all states to recognize valid marriages from other states, regardless of the couple's sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. We thank U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives for acting to safeguard some of the protections of marriage equality in this country, particularly ensuring equality in the provision of federal benefits for all married persons.
While the Respect for Marriage Act provides these protections against any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that would erode marriage equality across the country, we note this legislation would not stop a state from denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry within that state after such a judicial decision. There is much more the U.S. Congress can and must do to protect the right to privacy, bodily autonomy, and the liberty to form our own families without discrimination.
The bill now goes to President Biden for his promised signature.
Center on Halsted:
Steve Kauffman, Center on Halsted Director of Communications
We celebrate today's passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which provides federal protection of marriage for same-sex and interracial couples. The bill now moves forward to President Biden who already said he would sign it into law. This legislation is an important step in the right direction. No couple, regardless of where they live or who they love, should have their legal marriages declared invalid or threatened.
American Psychological Association:
WASHINGTON The American Psychological Association applauded Congress for passing the Respect for Marriage Act, noting that psychological science supports marriage equality.
"The American Psychological Association is gratified that Congress has passed a bill that will codify marriage equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or race," said APA President Frank C. Worrell, PhD. "APA has long been a strong advocate for marriage equality, based on the psychological research indicating that marriage provides substantial psychological and physical health benefits due to the moral, economic and social support extended to married couples. Conversely, empirical evidence has illustrated the harmful psychological effect of policies restricting marriage rights, particularly for same-sex couples."
APA has supported full equal rights for LGBTQ people for more than 35 years, based on the social science research on sexual orientation. APA has supported legal benefits for same-sex couples since 1997 and civil marriage for same-sex couples since 2004. APA has adopted policy statements, lobbied Congress in opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and the Federal Marriage Amendment, and filed amicus briefs supporting same-sex marriage in lawsuits in Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, New York (three times), Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico and California. In California, the APA brief was cited by the state Supreme Court when it ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in May 2008. APA also submitted a brief when that case (Hollingsworth v. Perry) reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. In addition, APA filed briefs the U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (U.S. v. Windsor) and in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.
The Respect for Marriage Act, once signed, will require that people be considered married in any state as long as their marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. The measure also repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. That law remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
Human Rights Campaign:
WASHINGTON The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization celebrated today the second, and final, bipartisan passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the House of Representatives. The bill passed 258 to 169, and garnered the votes of all Democrats and 39 Republicans, demonstrating the widespread and bipartisan support for marriage equality. The landmark legislation now heads to President Biden for his signature, after which it will be law. This legislation will guarantee the federal rights, benefits and obligations of marriages in the federal code for same-sex couples; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. It also codifies the same rights for interracial couples.
In response to the final passage of the bill, HRC President Kelley Robinson issued the following statement:
"Today's vote in the House of Representatives sends a clear message: love is winning. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community continues to face ongoing attacks from deadly violence to legislative assaults on our rights today's vote is a clear victory for this country's 568,000 same-sex married couples, including me. The fact that this bill passed with strong bipartisan support in both chambers proves that marriage equality is supported by a wide swath of the American people. We eagerly await the president's signature on this important legislation and look forward to continuing to fight for full equality for everyone in our community, without exception."
HRC worked tirelessly to engage our members and supporters in favor of this legislation. We mobilized 242 major businesses with over 8.5 million employees, a grassroots army of more than 3 million members, supporters and volunteers, and the nation's 62 million "Equality Voters" to call on members of Congress to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. HRC supporters made more than 30,400 calls and sent more than 58,000 letters to Congressional offices in support of the RMA. To read personal stories of why marriage equality remains important to LGBTQ+ couples across the country, click here, and to watch a video featuring a D.C.-based couple, click here.
More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality
According to Gallup, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. 55% of Republicans support same-sex marriage, along with 83% of Democrats and 73% of Independents. According to recent polling from HRC, 64% of people living in battleground states AZ, CA, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI, FL, NH, NC, OH, TX, CO, and ME support marriage equality, demonstrating the issue's popularity even in politically divided states. The latest survey from PRRI this year found that support for marriage equality has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Today, majorities of most religious groups favor marriage equality. White evangelical Protestants (35%) and Latter-day Saints (46%) remain the only major religious groups with less than majority support for marriage equality. According to the last Census, about 58% (568,000) of couples in the nation's 980,000 same-sex households were married and about 42% were unmarried partners.
Marriage-Equality-Report: assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Marriage-Equality-Report.pdf .
Key Provisions of the Bill
The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that marriage equality is protected nationally through several provisions:
Repealing the 1990s era Defense of Marriage Act. Passed in 1996, DOMA discriminated in two important ways. First, Section 2 of DOMA purported to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples. Second, Section 3 of the law carved all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations and rulings applicable to all other married people thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections. DOMA was rendered unenforceable, in two stages, by the Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor v. United States ruling (which invalidated Section 3) and the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling (which invalidated Section 2).
Establishing that "place of celebration" is the standard of recognition for federal benefits of a marriage. This provision ensures that the federal government will consider a couple to be married for federal purposes if the couple's marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
Affirming that marriage-related public acts, records and proceedings of one state must be recognized by all states. Marriages, adoption orders, divorce decrees and other public acts must be honored by all states consistent with the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.