Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t change all state same-sex laws

The Respect for Marriage Act ensures that marriages are recognized federally, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity. Here’s what bills do and don’t do.

The Senate passed the Bipartisan Marriage Respect Act on November 29. The act will now move to the House of Representatives for a final vote, where it is expected to pass and then be passed by President Joe Biden signed into law.

The bill would ensure that the federal government recognizes marriages regardless of race, ethnicity or sex, and require all states to recognize all marriages legally conducted in other states.

In response to the Senate passage, Biden said, “America is on a stellar reaffirmation of a fundamental truth: love is love and that Americans should have the right to marry the one they love.”

There has been some confusion about what the Respect for Marriage bill actually means to Americans. According to Google Trends data, people are wondering if same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.

QUESTION

Does the Respect for Marriage Act make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states?

SOURCES

ANSWER

This is wrong.

No, the Respect for Marriage Act does not legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

WHAT WE FIND

The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) protects same-sex marriages but does not legalize them in all 50 states. Here’s a look at what the bill would do if it passed the House and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

  • The Federation recognizes all marriages, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin
  • Requires all states to recognize all valid marriages from the states where the marriage was legally conducted
  • Churches or any other faith-based organization reserve the right to refuse to proceed with a marriage without recourse or legal action.

What invoices don’t do:

  • Ask all 50 states to legalize same-sex marriage
  • Prohibit states from taking steps to ban or restrict same-sex marriage if that right, currently protected by Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, was found to be unconstitutional

The RFMA was introduced to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a bill that went into effect in the 1990s that limited the definition of marriage to only between a man and a woman.

In 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage with their ruling in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. The court ruled that heterosexual and same-sex couples have equal marriage rights in all 50 states under the Fourteenth Amendment. The court also said the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

In the Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, other constitutional rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, such as same-sex marriage, were questioned.

In the concurrence opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas in the case, Thomas called on the court to overturn its rulings establishing the fundamental constitutional right to use contraception, the right of same-sex couples to marry. gender and the right to form intimate sexual relationships with the consent of another adult.

If the Supreme Court rules in a future case to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the RFMA would be in place to protect same-sex marriage federally, but states can still choose to ban it. However, states will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in countries that allow it.

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Edmund DeMarche

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