Same-sex and inter-racial marriages get an extra layer of protection

The US Supreme Court has said that bans on same-sex marriage and inter-racial marriage are both unconstitutional. So why did the US Senate yesterday by a 61-36 vote pass the Respect for Marriage Act that protects what seemed to be already legal? It is because the overturning of the Roe v. Wade precedent that gave constitutional protection to abortions had created fears that the current US Supreme Court might overturn those other hard-won freedoms as well. Justice Clarence Thomas has openly voiced his disagreement with the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

All Democrats voted in favor of this bill, and it was supported by 12 Republicans. The House of Representatives will now have to pass a similar measure so that Joe Biden can sign it into law.

While the bill would not set a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage, it would require individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage.

So, in the event the Supreme Court might overturn its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized same-sex marriage, a state could still pass a law to ban same-sex marriage, but that state would be required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

That is a good move. It is disappointing that 36 Republican senators voted against it.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    “It is disappointing that 36 Republican senators voted against it.”
    Let’s stop being mealy-mouthed about today’s Republican party. ‘Disappointing’ implies that you had a reasonable expectation that a majority of the Republicans would choose the kind, big-hearted option. But you know you has no such expectation. I, personally, am surprised that even 12 of them supported it (although, only after watering it down substantially, including ensuring that anyone can still discriminate against certain marriages if their particular religion says it’s OK), and I suspect you are too, Mano.

  2. Mano Singham says

    Actually, I was genuinely disappointed. That is because same-sex and inter-racial marriages are currently legal and they are no longer hot-button culture war issues in an impending election. So voting in favor of the bill would not be that controversial. Hence I would have expected that even politicians who had opportunistically seized on these two issues, as opposed to hardcore ideologues, would have seen voting in favor as a way to broaden their appeal.

    This vote showed that hardcore ideologues are a much larger fraction of the party than I thought.

  3. jenorafeuer says

    I’ve been saying for a while now that the ‘hardcore ideologues’ have been a generational shift.
    Reagan and the Moral Majority lied about abortion being a big issue to cover up that their real big issue was racism, but they whipped voters into a panic over abortion because it was an easier sell. The political class knew it was all a grift and a lie to get people to vote for them, and they never actually planned on banning abortion because then they would lose one of the levers they were manipulating people with, but it worked to get them elected to where they could actually start gutting the Voting Rights Act.
    A generation after that, the voters who grew up being whipped into a frenzy over abortion and getting pissed off that ‘their side’ never actually followed through on their promises started running for office themselves, aided by the people who were absolutely incensed that a black man had become president. We started getting the Tea Party and other people who believed in Reagan’s public ‘The government is the problem’ attitude, and had no interest in the way things actually worked.
    We’re now a generation past that, and the people who are actually interested in running the country are being pushed out and out-primaried by the folks who were whipped into a frenzy and have stayed in that frenzy for decades now. Reagan would be treated as a RINO by these people because, unlike him, they have no understanding of actually needing to follow rules or at least put on a pretense of doing so. The Republican party have trained successive generations of narcissists and the ideologues now own the party because the people who actually understand the wheels of government can’t keep up with the mob they enabled anymore.

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