House Sends Same-Sex Marriage Bill To Biden’s Desk In Bipartisan Vote

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass a final version of the Respect for Marriage Act, which requires states to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Thirty-nine Republicans joined with all 219 Democrats to pass the legislation. It initially passed the House in July, but the Senate’s addition of a religious liberty amendment made another vote necessary. Republican opponents argued that the bill does not do enough to protect opponents of same-sex marriage from discrimination claims, and neither chamber included a religious liberty amendment championed by some conservatives.

“I first introduced a version of this legislation in 2009, and I am very proud that after a long journey it will soon be headed to the president’s desk and marriage equality will be enshrined in law,” lead sponsor and House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said in a floor speech. “The House took an important step in July when it passed the bill with the support of 47 Republican members. Now that the Senate passed an amended version, also with bipartisan support, it is up to us to finish the job.”

The added religious liberty amendment, negotiated by Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins, states that the legislation may not be used to “diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.” (RELATED: Dems Block Religious Freedom Amendment For Gay Marriage Bill In Rush To Pass It)

Democrats argued that the legislation was made necessary by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade. In a concurring opinion, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the Court should reconsider its substantive due process jurisprudence, including its same-sex marriage rulings.