Is this bill a win or a compromise? Well, that depends on who you ask.

The U.S. Senate just voted 62-37 to advance a bill that would extend legal same-sex marriage protections across the United States.

The Respect for Marriage Act grew out of fears that, following the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, the Obergefell v. Hodges decision may also be at risk. 

LGBTQ rights activists have been warning that with abortion rights struck down, same-sex marriage protections could be next – prompting legislators to act. 

Several months after the House voted in favor of the bill, the Senate has now followed suit.

However, the Respect for Marriage Act still faces several more hurdles before it can become law. 

What is the Respect for Marriage Act?

The Respect for Marriage Act would mandate that valid same-sex marriages be recognized as legal in all states. But (and here's the catch) that only applies if the union took place in a state where same-sex marriage is legal

So what does that mean? 

In the event that Obergefell v. Hodges gets overturned, states would theoretically be free to pass their own laws regarding same-sex marriage in their own state. 

However, under the Respect for Marriage Act, they would not be able to discriminate or otherwise disregard same-sex unions within their state, so long as the wedding was held in a state that had legalized same-sex marriage. 

In other words, a married same-sex couple could live in Mississippi and enjoy all the same legal protections as married straight couples – but they'd have to get married in, say, New York. 

In case you were curious, these are the states that still outlaw same-sex marriage at the state level:

  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee

A Win, Or a Compromise?

That depends on who you ask. The Respect for Marriage Act is undoubtedly a step toward progress, supporters say. And they note it would be a massive improvement over the situation pre-Obergefell.

However, LGBTQ+ rights advocates say it still leaves the door open for discrimination against gay couples. For instance, not everyone has the time or resources to travel to another state to get married, they point out. 

There has also been significant dispute over how this bill will affect religious organizations, leading lawmakers to change the wording of the legislation in response. 

The newest version holds that nonprofit religious groups can't be compelled to take part in same-sex marriages if doing so goes against their beliefs. 

But that hasn't stopped some conservative groups from voicing alarms. 

“This bill puts a giant target on the back of individuals, nonprofit organizations, adoption agencies, schools, and businesses that hold fast to the truth about marriage,” said Roger Severino of the Heritage Foundation.

In order to pass, the bill faces another vote in Senate, as well as the House, before it would go to the White House for signature. 

What is your reaction?

20 comments

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    The government should only deal in civil unions, as a marriage is a religious institution. Civil unions should be permissible for any two consenting adults.

    1. Charles Leroy Good II's Avatar Charles Leroy Good II

      Marriage is not only for religious people. It is for everyone.

    2. SueW's Avatar SueW

      If civil unions were granted the same legal advantages as marriage, I might agree, but they’re not.

      1. Robert James Ruhnke's Avatar Robert James Ruhnke

        Nah. Too many people who are into polyamory for that to work. Marriage equality means all marriages between consenting adults should be valid.

  1. James C Riggle's Avatar James C Riggle

    It's about time. The bill may not be perfect in all aspects, but it's a start. The only problem is having to go back through both chambers pretty much ensures it's failure. When will people finally realize the LGBTQ community is exactly what God wanted them to be. Are we here to test other believers ability to love each other as God/Jesus/Whoever/Whatever wanted us too? If so, those who hate us, LGBTQ people sure have failed.

  1. Rev. Dr. Father JJ's Avatar Rev. Dr. Father JJ

    just wait for it....those to come in and rail on about how it's an abomination, blah, blah, blah. the reason it's not going to pass is because of those same people who unfortunately are in public office and believe that their own religious beliefs should be followed and upheld by everyone regardless of religion (or lack thereof).

    i think a simple law that allows two consenting adults to be unionized and entitled to all of the benefits presently afforded to 'marriage'. let all people be unionized, let the chrs chns have their word if it's so important to them but they too would still have to be unionized in order to get the legal benefits (choosing not to would be they would be considered unmarried, non-unionized and any children would be from a non-legal union

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    So this law if passed into law (and that is doubtful as they dont have time to get it done before the holiday recess (usually starts right before Thanksgiving) and they get to come back for maybe a week before leaving again for the Christmas Holidays, and then they wont be back until the 15th of January and the new Congress takes office on Jan 21st. So at best you have maybe 2 to 3 weeks to get this done. and with all the other things they want to do before the Democrats lose the House....(and with Sinema seriously thinking of switching to the GOP because of all the attacks she has received from the Democrats) there is a very good chance that the Senate will go GOP if this happens. And the other problem is that means that you cant go from one state and have a same sex marriage and then go to another state and demand that they accept it. Not to mention that if the SCOTUS does decide (and I dont think they will) but if they do decide to hear a challenge to same sex marriages, the people trying to get this issue passed will have to show where under federal law it allows the Government to make this legal or not. So I would not get too excited about this if I were you as you still have many hurdles to overcome before this passes. And the way the laws work, if Congress does not get this passed before they return in January, then they have to start all over as one house passing a law in one year does not allow that law to be held over to be passed in the next year

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Whatever you believe you can't tell someone who to love. Even if you believe it its a sin; it is no worse than any other sin. We allow divorced people to remarry. This is no different. As long as it is two human beings I see no problem with it.

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    Good. Not meaning that I am for or against it, but this is what should have been done in the FIRST place.

    The legislators should put themselves on the record by voting for or against this measure and answer, one way or the other, to their constituents for it.

    It was a cowardly move to let it sit with the Supreme Court, poeople that are not answerable to any electorate, for so long.

  1. Rev. Dr. James Jacob Showers Jr's Avatar Rev. Dr. James Jacob Showers Jr

    Thank you for sharing this very important information with us. Like the National End Parkinson's Disease Act, I was hoping that they would have indeed passed this in the previous US Congress 117. May the Almighty Creator, contine to illuminate your path.

  1. Ronaldo's Avatar Ronaldo

    What is marriage in the legal sense? It is nothing more than a contract between two people in which the State has too much say. If a couple is married, and wants to divorce, the State has a lot of control as to how that divorce must proceed, even if that contradicts what the married couple wants. Perhaps we should end marriage as a legal concept and make it entirely contractual, with the State only having enough input to require that the contract must address certain issues, such as how finances, properties, and children are managed during marriage and in case of divorce or death. The State should have no say in how those things are handled, but only that the contract contains clauses dealing with them. In that way, a couple would have to think through their entire marriage before entering into the contract. Such a plan might lead to fewer marriages, but would probably lead to fewer divorces, with virtually none of them going to court. The contract would cover all possible disputes.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Marriage? Civil Union? Who cares? It's a contract. Why do you need a contract? I thought you loved and trusted each other? Why not just a verbal agreement? A handshake? Fist Bump or a hug?
    Why? Because were insecure and want to own the other person. But you said you would love me forever. If it's about money then just place all cash and property in a trust or joint account with rights of survivorship. That's a commitment. Marriage isn't a right nor is civil commitment. We made it up.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Marriage? Civil Union? Who cares? It's a contract. Why do you need a contract? I thought you loved and trusted each other? Why not just a verbal agreement? A handshake? Fist Bump or a hug?
    Why? Because were insecure and want to own the other person. But you said you would love me forever. If it's about money then just place all cash and property in a trust or joint account with rights of survivorship. That's a commitment. Marriage isn't a right nor is civil commitment. We made it up.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Marriage? Civil Union? Who cares? It's a contract. Why do you need a contract? I thought you loved and trusted each other? Why not just a verbal agreement? A handshake? Fist Bump or a hug?
    Why? Because were insecure and want to own the other person. But you said you would love me forever. If it's about money then just place all cash and property in a trust or joint account with rights of survivorship. That's a commitment. Marriage isn't a right nor is civil commitment. We made it up.

  1. Allen Nace's Avatar Allen Nace

    Marriage? Civil Union? Who cares? It's a contract. Why do you need a contract? I thought you loved and trusted each other? Why not just a verbal agreement? A handshake? Fist Bump or a hug?
    Why? Because were insecure and want to own the other person. But you said you would love me forever. If it's about money then just place all cash and property in a trust or joint account with rights of survivorship. That's a commitment. Marriage isn't a right nor is civil commitment. We made it up.

  1. Eberhard Bruner's Avatar Eberhard Bruner

    I've always believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. I'm not aware of any other kinds of marriage in the Bible. Though I don't condone unions of other kinds, I've also believed that people's private lives should stay private. Let God be the judge of our choices.

  1. Pamela Shuttleworth's Avatar Pamela Shuttleworth

    My wife and I live in Ohio, and got a legal marriage license. In Ohio. Does that mean our marriage is no longer recognized in Ohio?

  1. Clerance Homister's Avatar Clerance Homister

    It's just another sign of the end times. When the church embraces the sins of man as law. So many have ignored or falsely interpreted the Bible and word of God. God help us.

  1. Pamela Shuttleworth's Avatar Pamela Shuttleworth

    My wife and I were married in Ohio and have a marriage license that we received in Ohio. When did the law change in Ohio?

  1. Russell Clark Schuh's Avatar Russell Clark Schuh

    God Created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and Steve !!! ref: Leviticus 18 and 20.

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