Amid worries that the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access will threaten other rights condemned by many conservatives, the US House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to safeguard same-sex and interracial marriages.
Republicans avoided outright opposing homosexual marriage, while Democrats campaigned passionately and frequently personally in support of enshrining marital equality in federal law. Instead, top Republicans argued that given the nation’s other problems, the bill was superfluous.
The 267-157 vote on the election-year roll call on Tuesday was partly a political ploy to have all House members, Democrats and Republicans alike, record their votes. It also showed how the legislative branch was resisting a litigious court that had questioned the wisdom of reconsidering other ostensibly settled US laws.
A majority of Americans, according to polling, prefer keeping the right to marry, regardless of sex, gender, colour, or ethnicity, reflecting a long-growing shift in contemporary mores in favour of inclusion.
GOP leaders did not pressure their members to keep the party line against the plan out of concern about electoral repercussions, according to aides. 47 Republicans collectively voted in favour of passage together with all Democrats.
According to a June Gallup poll, there is growing and widespread support for same-sex partnerships, with 70% of US respondents believing that such unions should be legally recognised as legal. According to the survey, Republicans (55%) and Democrats (83%) both have a majority of supporters.
The Clinton-era law that defines marriage as a heterosexual partnership between a man and a woman would be repealed under the Respect for Marriage Act. By outlawing the denial of out-of-state marriage licences and benefits on the grounds of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin, it would also offer legal protection for inter-racial unions.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming joined those voting in support on Tuesday. Important Republicans in the House have changed their stance on the subject in recent years.