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US Senate Advances Respect for Marriage Act

    US Senate Advances Respect for Marriage Act
    Last updated: 1 week ago
    Image credit: pbs

    Facts

    • The Respect for Marriage Act passed a significant milestone in the US Senate on Wednesday, as lawmakers voted 62-37 to prevent a filibuster and advance the law that would write marriage equality into federal law to an up-or-down vote later this week. [1]
    • All 50 members of the Democratic caucus were joined by 12 Republicans in a vote that had been delayed since July when the House passed the act. A bipartisan agreement had postponed the vote until after this month’s midterm elections. [1]
    • If passed, the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and require all public acts, records, and proceedings protected by past SCOTUS rulings related to marriage to be recognized by all states. [2]
    • Advocates have urged lawmakers to codify same-sex marriage since SCOTUS overturned abortion rights related to Roe v. Wade earlier this year, fearing the court could go after marriage equality next. [3]
    • The bill has garnered support from religious groups, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing its support for the law as long as same-sex couples don’t infringe on religious groups’ right to believe as they choose. [4]
    • The church's support follows an amendment to the bill that protects churches from legal action for declining to provide service for any marriage it opposes. [5]
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    Spin

    Republican narrative

    The Respect for Marriage Act is a Trojan horse that will pave the way to increased federal action and litigation against religious groups under the guise of protecting same-sex marriage rights. It does nothing to actually advance LGBTQ+ freedoms but does everything to threaten religious ones.

    Democratic narrative

    This bill — a proactive measure to protect same-sex marriage — carefully balances LGBTQ+ rights and religious freedom, as attested by the support it has garnered from members of both groups. Any talk of this act working in opposition to religious rights is just a way for the opposition to rile up its base.

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