The House passed a bill on Tuesday protecting same-sex marriage.
- Forty-seven Republicans voted to pass the bill. GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called the legislation "a pathetic ploy."
- On Thursday, the House will vote on a bill to protect access to contraception.
The House of Representatives voted to pass the Respect of Marriage Act, codifying same-sex marriage into law Tuesday. Forty-seven House Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
Concerns over the legality of same-sex marriage rose when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reversing the constitutional abortion, with their ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization case in June.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito opinion's in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization stated that this decision should impact 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, conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that, going forward, the Court "should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell." Thomas referred 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 are under threat by the court's new conservative super-majority. The first pieces of post-Roe legislation were the Women's Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, protecting access to abortion, which both passed the Democrat-led House on Friday. This week, House Democrats proposed the Respect of Marriage Act, which would codify the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of legalizing gay marriage.
Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, is a co-sponsor 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 has economic implications because there are a number of financial benefits that come 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 prior to the House vote, Rep. Mark Pocan, a gay Wisconsin Democrat, told Insider he finds 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 if he was going to add that comment to his speech, but later did before the chamber.
—Rep. Mark Pocan (@RepMarkPocan) July 19, 2022
A number of House Republicans spoke out against the bill before the vote. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, said the bill is "superfluous." Rep. Jim Jordan, the Republican from Ohio, also dismissed the bill, calling it an attempt by Democrats to "delegitimize" and "intimidate" the Supreme Court.
—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 19, 2022
One prominent Republican declined to say how he would vote on the bill, highlighting the extent to which the party finds itself on the defensive."I guess you'll see soon," said Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.
When pressed, he said: "I don't even know who you are, so you can pay attention, and you'll see soon."
Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene, the Republican from Georgia, told Insider on Tuesday that she would be voting "no" on the marriage equality bill, which she called "a pathetic ploy," because she opposes the right.
"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and that's how God created it," Greene said.
However, the conservative representative conceded that SCOTUS has "already decided" on Obergefell and there isn't a "big appetite" for it to be overturned.
If the Respect of 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, provide a definition of marriage for federal purposes to include gay marriage, and prohibit 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 House is scheduled to vote on a bill called the Protect the Right to Contraception bill Thursday in another congressional effort to thwart the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade's impact on other privacy rights.