House Votes To Protect Same-Sex Marriage

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The Respect for Marriage Act had been introduced by House Democrats to safeguard gay marriage following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June.

Updated on 7/20 at 2:15 EST.

Additional updates to this article reflect that both Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) are co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. Portman announced his support for the bill on Wednesday.  

The House voted on Tuesday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which, if passed by the Senate and approved by President Biden, would codify same-sex marriage into the country’s legislative framework.

The legislation passed by a vote of 267 for to 157 against. 47 Republicans joined the House Democrats in supporting the legislation, including Elise Stefanik (NY) and Liz Cheney (WY). 

The measure had been introduced by House Democrats to safeguard gay marriage following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June. In his opinion issued after the ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court could use that decision to revisit other cases, including Obergefell, the landmark 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. 

If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act “would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, enshrine legal same-sex marriage for the purposes of federal law, and add legal protections for married couples of the same sex,” NBC reports. 

The bill will now go to the Senate, although it is not currently scheduled for a vote in the chamber. In order to pass in the Senate, 10 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in support of the legislation. So far, Susan Collins (ME) and Rob Portman (OH), both co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, are the only Republicans who have openly supported the bill, which Collins has said is  “another step to promote equality, prevent discrimination, and protect the rights of all Americans.”

On Wednesday, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he is working to bring the legislation to the Senate floor, and has tasked out senator, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) with engaging Republicans on the matter.

“I want to bring this bill to the floor, and we’re working to get the necessary Senate Republican support to ensure it would pass,” he said.

The Senate has yet to vote on the Equality Act, legislation that would provide federal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, which passed in the House last year.


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