Editorial: Senators, protect marriage equality ASAP

Imagine waking up one day to discover that a handful of judges have ruled that the government could void your marriage. Suddenly, the legal structure that holds your family together could become unraveled, leading to uncertainty in some of the most intimate areas of life — child custody, estate planning, medical decisions.

No American should have to worry about losing the freedom to marry the person they love. Nor should citizens live in fear that a legal right they invoke to organize their lives could be snatched away by conservatives on the Supreme Court. That’s why Congress must pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which the House of Representatives passed last month and is due to be voted on in the Senate this week.

The bill codifies rights to same-sex and interracial marriages that the Supreme Court years ago declared constitutionally protected. That’s what the court decided in 2015 in Obergefell vs. Hodges gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry, and in 1967, in Loving vs. Virginia, the ban on interracial marriage was struck down.

These judgments were based on the idea that the constitutional right to liberty is linked to the right to privacy and autonomy over intimate choices. But that’s the same legal logic that underpinned abortion rights for nearly 50 years that the court ditched in June Knockdown by Roe vs. Wade. So Americans have every right to be nervous that other privacy-based constitutional rights may also be at risk.

Although Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority that the decision to overthrow Roe “affects the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote an alarming consensus by saying he wanted that the court found the “proven wrong decisions” regarding the right to contraception, same-sex intimacy and same-sex marriage.

It is clear that Americans need Insurance policies to protect our freedoms by this extreme court bent on rolling back decades of progress. The Respect for Marriage Act is one such insurance policy because it enshrines marriage equality in federal law and prohibits states from contesting the validity of a marriage contracted in another state. The Right to Contraception Act is another insurance policy that Congress should happen to protect Americans’ freedom to use birth control. Congress should have passed the Women’s Health Protection Act months ago to ensure access to abortion would continue even if the court overturned Roe. It is shameful that this was not the case.

While Republican opposition has blocked bills enshrining federal abortion and contraception laws from moving forward in the Senate, the GOP appears open to codifying same-sex marriage. It was encouraging to see the Respect for Marriage Act pass the House with a solid majority bipartisan support. About 47 Republicans voted in favor, along with all 220 Democrats.

California Republicans were divided. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita), Darrell Issa (R-Bonsall), Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear Lake) and David Valadao (R-Hanford) voted for same sex rights Before.

Representatives Connie Conway (R-Tulare), Young Kim (R-La Habra), Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove) and Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach ) voted against the protection of these rights.

Five Republican senators have publicly stated they will vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. It shouldn’t be hard for a few more GOP fence sitters to side with civil rights. About 71% of Americans say same-sex marriages should be legally recognized. Senators should show they value families and ensure that all couples — regardless of race, sexual orientation, or future Supreme Court decisions — have the right to say “I do.”

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-08-01/editorial-senate-congress-protect-marriage-equality-respect-marriage-act Editorial: Senators, protect marriage equality ASAP

Alley Einstein

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