Congresswoman Gwen Moore Votes to Enshrine Marriage Equality in Federal Law

Congresswoman Gwen Moore Votes to Enshrine Marriage Equality in Federal Law

Today, Congresswoman Moore voted for the Respect for Marriage Act, which enshrines marriage equality in law for same-sex couples and interracial couples guaranteed by Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges and repeals the Defense of Marriage Act. In response, she released the following statement:

“Clarence Thomas’s radical opinion supporting the repeal of Roe made it clear that other freedoms are at-risk, including same-sex marriage. This right must be protected from a conservative and extreme Supreme Court majority who have already chipped away at equality and taken us back in time.

Today, House Democrats are responding to this threat by passing the Respect for Marriage Act, which safeguards legal protections for same-sex couples and interracial couples.

I have always thought it was wrong for the government to tell people who they can or can’t marry. Marriage equality is a right I have championed for decades and will continue fighting to protect.

That’s why I supported the Respect for Marriage Act, which helps preserve the dignity and freedom that comes with being able to marry who you love – no matter their gender or skin color.”

The Key Provisions of the Bill

  • Enshrines Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes: The bill reaffirms equality by codifying that an individual is considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  This gives same-sex and interracial couples additional security that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples – as the Constitution requires.
  • Repeals the Discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act:  The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines legal marriage as only occurring between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court effectively rendered the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that marriage equality was a constitutional right. This unconstitutional and discriminatory law, however, still officially remains on the books. This bill would repeal that statute once and for all.
  • Provides Additional Legal Protections from Individuals Seeking to Undermine Marriage Equality While Acting Under Color of State Law:  The bill prohibits any person acting under color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage.  The bill also provides the U.S. Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.

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