The United States House of Representatives passed a bill on July 19 titled the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), that, according to language in the bill, would provide statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law.
The bill came after concerns from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Per the statement on the decision, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas also mentioned Obergefell v. Hodges, which ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry.
The RFMA, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, would replace provisions in federal law that define marriage as between a man and woman and the word “spouse” as being a person of the opposite sex.
The bill was passed with a 267-157 vote, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in favor.
Washington’s District 3 Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, was not among those 47, telling The Reflector, “House leadership rushed this bill for a vote theoretically in response to Supreme Court rhetoric, yet the Supreme Court majority wrote in its Dobbs decision that ‘nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.’”
She went on to say that rights related to contraception and same-sex relationships are inherently different, and that “marriage as it exists in the U.S. today is viewed by a majority of this Supreme Court as a settled matter. I’m not interested in further involving the federal government in marriage.”
She also said the bill was not well thought-out, nor did it have enough time to be researched by members of congress.
“If Congress is truly interested in solidifying the issue of marriage going forward, House leaders would have given this legislation committee hearings and provided members more than 18 hours’ notice to study a bill that could impact the laws of more than 30 states,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “But they didn’t, which makes it clear that today’s vote was more about election-year pageantry than anything else.”
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