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  5. House passes bill protecting same-sex-marriage rights with 47 Republicans in support — it heads to the Senate next

House passes bill protecting same-sex-marriage rights with 47 Republicans in support it heads to the Senate next

Kayla Gallagher,Bryan Metzger   

House passes bill protecting same-sex-marriage rights with 47 Republicans in support — it heads to the Senate next
  • The House passed a bill by a 267-157 vote on Tuesday that would protect same-sex marriage.
  • Forty-seven Republicans voted to pass the bill.

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify same-sex marriage into law.

With a 267-157 vote, the bill is headed to the Senate. 47 House Republicans voted in favor of the bill.

A full list of all of the House Republicans who voted for and against the bill can be found here.

If the Respect for Marriage Act passes the Senate and is signed by the president, it will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, ensuring the recognition of same-sex marriage across the board, providing a definition of marriage for federal purposes to include gay marriage, and prohibiting any person acting under color of state law from "failing to give full effect to an out of state marriage" on the basis of sex, race, gender, or national origin.

The 47 Republicans who voted in favor of the bill included a number of Republicans who represent swing districts, including Reps. Nicole Malliotakis of New York, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Mike Garcia of California.

Others were traditional conservatives who've found themselves alienated from the party in recent years, including Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and John Katko of New York.

Cheney's vote in favor of the bill came after she said last year that she was "wrong" for declaring her opposition to same-sex marriage in 2013. The Wyoming Republican's sister, Mary, is married to a woman.

Concerns over the legality of same-sex marriage rose when the Supreme Court last month overturned Roe v. Wade, a decision that reversed federal abortion rights, with its ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization said the decision should affect no other rights, only abortion.

"Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion," Alito wrote.

However, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative, wrote in his concurring opinion that the court "should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell." Thomas was referring to three landmark decisions regarding the right to access contraception, the invalidation of anti-sodomy laws, and the right to same-sex marriage.

Democrats immediately raised concerns that other key civil rights were under threat by the court's conservative supermajority. The first pieces of proposed post-Roe legislation were the Women's Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, which would protect access to abortion. Both bills passed the Democratic-led House on Friday. This week, House Democrats proposed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would codify the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of legalizing gay marriage.

Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, is a cosponsor of the bill and the fourth openly gay member of Congress. Cicilline emphasized in a House press conference Tuesday before the vote that the issue also had economic implications because there were a number of financial benefits that came with getting married. If same-sex marriage is no longer recognized, LGBTQ families will be denied those basic benefits.

"People build their lives and families build their lives together knowing that the government will respect and recognize their marriages," Cicilline said. "However, same-sex couples all across this country are worried about the future of their marriages because of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs."

When asked to preview some of the speech he planned to give before the House vote, Rep. Mark Pocan, a gay Wisconsin Democrat, told Insider he found it "ironic that the party that their own members have accused them of having cocaine-filled orgies is more worried about my marriage than their internal struggles."

Pocan told Insider he wasn't sure whether he would add that comment to his speech but later did before the chamber.

A number of House Republicans spoke out against the bill before the vote. Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana said the bill was "superfluous." Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio also dismissed the bill, calling it an attempt by Democrats to "delegitimize" and "intimidate" the Supreme Court.

One prominent Republican declined to say how he would vote on the bill, highlighting the extent to which the party found itself on the defensive.

"I guess you'll see soon," Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, the chair of the Republican Study Committee, said.

When pressed, he said: "I don't even know who you are, so you can pay attention and you'll see soon."

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told Insider Tuesday that she would be voting no on the marriage-equality bill, which she called "a pathetic ploy" because of her opposition to the right.

"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that's how God created it," Greene said.

She added that the Supreme Court had "already decided" on Obergefell and there wasn't a "big appetite" for it to be overturned.

The House is scheduled to vote on a bill called the Right to Contraception bill on Thursday in another congressional effort to thwart the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade's influence on other privacy rights.