Assistant Speaker Clark Applauds House Vote To Protect Marriage Equality

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WASHINGTON DC – Yesterday, July 19, Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5) proudly voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects marriage equality by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ensuring critical protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.

This vote is a direct response to Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization stating that the courts “should reconsider” same-sex marriage.

“We are witnessing an assault on our Constitutional rights from the Republican Party,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “I’m proud to vote today to protect every person’s fundamental right to marry the person they love and to defend equality. House Democrats hear the calls of the American people to protect their freedom to love and marry who they choose.” 

Assistant Speaker Clark is an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act that is led by Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chairman David Cicilline (RI-01) and Co-Chairs Angie Craig (MN-02), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Mark Takano (CA-41), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15).

The Respect for Marriage Act would:

  • Repeal DOMA – The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA unconstitutional with its landmark decisions on marriage equality. This unconstitutional and discriminatory law, however, still officially remains on the books and the bill would repeal DOMA. 
  • Enshrine marriage equality for federal law purposes – The bill requires that under federal law 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 certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples.
  • Provide additional legal protections – The bill prohibits any person acting under the 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, provides the 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.

The Respect for Marriage Act is supported by leading national organizations including the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG.

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