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Pingree, House Democrats Pass Bill to Protect Marriage Equality Under Federal Law

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and House Democrats today passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would proactively protect marriage equality for same sex and interracial couples. Although the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs decision does not immediately impact LGBTQ+ people’s right to marry who they love, the Court majority’s reasoning in Dobbs could be used to target fundamental rights like the right to marriage equality established under Obergefell v. Hodges.

The Respect for Marriage Act would effectively repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, which has been dormant since Obergefell but remains public law. Further, the Respect for Marriage Act includes additional legal protections that prohibit anyone acting under state law from denying an out of state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of the people in the marriage.

“In the wake of its decision in Dobbs, this partisan Supreme Court majority has proven its willingness to abandon years of precedent to upend established constitutional rights. Now, LGBTQ+ couples in Maine and across the country are concerned that their right to marriage equality might be overturned in the future. This is no idle threat – Justice Clarence Thomas actually urged the Court reconsider their decision in Obergefell in his alarming concurring opinion for Dobbs,” said Pingree. “As a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, I’m proudly casting my vote to ensure that marriage equality will remain the law of the land and protect the safety and security of countless families.”

The Respect for Marriage Act passed the House 267-157 on Tuesday.

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