House passes bill protecting same-sex marriage rights

In the House of Representatives on Thursday, a group of Democrats — some of whom are gay and many of whom talk about their own same-sex marriage — came out in defense of the measure. It repealed the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages held in other states. Once signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act would prohibit states from denying the validity of out-of-state marriages based on sex, race or ethnicity.

“Today, we will vote for equality and against discrimination by finally overturning the homophobic Defense of Marriage Act and guaranteeing key protections for same-sex and interracial marriage,” said Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat on Thursday. Passed on the eve of the vote.

This was followed by a ceremony to celebrate and formally hand over the legislation to Mr. Ms. Biden, Pelosi, whose term as speaker ends in early January, said signing the bill was a fitting culmination of her tenure, which began in 2010 when she signed legislation allowing the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” Policy against open military service for gay and bisexuals.

Former Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and one of the first openly gay members of Congress, was there to celebrate the end of what he described as another shameful policy, with the initials Marriage Defense of Marriage Act.

“I’m here for the birth of DOMA, so I’m very grateful to be here for the funeral,” said Mr. Frank said. “This is the time in New Orleans; we’re blowing the horns for funerals — a happier time than birth.”

Still, despite the bipartisan nature of the vote, a majority of Republicans are vocally opposed. During Thursday’s debate, they argued the measure was a response to a non-existent threat to same-sex marriage rights and denounced it as part of a Democratic conspiracy to upend traditional values ​​and harm the national interest.

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Democrats had “created” an “unfounded fear” that the Supreme Court was about to strike down same-sex marriage rights and other precedents, saying the measure There is still a lack of adequate protections for organizations that consider such unions ineffective.

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