U.S. Senate Approves Bill Protecting Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage

Sara Paredes, Feature Editor

On Nov. 29, the United States Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act — legislation intended to protect all same-sex and interracial marriages in the event that the Supreme Court overturns the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015. While the bill would not instill nationwide protection for same-sex marriage, it would require that states consider other states’ legal marriage laws. 

Following a bipartisan, 61-36 final vote backed by all Democratic members of the caucus and 12 Republican members, the bill now faces approval from the House of Representatives before officially reaching President Joe Biden’s desk. 

The bill obliges states to recognize not only same-sex marriage, but interracial couples as well, requiring states to protect marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.” 

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the federal right to an abortion in June, along with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinion regarding the suggestion to reconsider same-sex marriage soon after, the issue gained significant momentum from the Senate and the public. Combined with the recently elected Republican majority in the House, Senate Democrats have begun to move quickly to ensure the bill’s passage.

For all members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, the ruling demonstrates promising progress for the future but is still only a small step in the right direction. For Miami Palmetto Senior High senior and President of Alliance Club Sophia Tomczack, the ruling proves a significant step in working against discrimination in the LGBTQ+ community. 

“After having Supreme Court cases like Roe v. Wade being overturned, there have been several of the Supreme Court justices who have hinted to overturn some of those other really important cases, so having this right to marriage finally being codified into law is a really big step against discrimination and protecting LGBTQ+ people and their love lives. If not, there at any point could be a time where the Supreme Court decides that they want to go back and undo that ruling that allows for same-sex marriage,” Tomczack said.