The fine print of the Respect for Marriage Act

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Let's start with the positive: Republicans and Democrats come together to protect people of the same sex. marriage of the Supreme Court. The Respect for Marriage Act, which guarantees the right to same-sex marriage nationwide, passed the House with bipartisan support earlier this week and now awaits a vote in the Senate.

The law on respect for marriage codifies marriages and was created amid Democrats' concerns that the same conservative majority on the Supreme Court that stripped away abortion rights will target same-sex marriage in the future.

The version that overcame a Senate filibuster passed the Senate on Tuesday. A dozen Republican senators from across the country voted with Democrats before Thanksgiving to limit debate and move toward a final vote.

RELATED: Meet the 12 Republicans Who Voted in Favor of the Respect for Marriage Act

It then goes to the House for approval before President Joe Biden can sign it.

But there's quite a bit of fine print.

First, the bill does not require all states to allow same-sex marriage, even though this is the current reality in the Obergefell v. Hodges of 2015. To the contrary, if the Supreme Court overturned Obergefell and previous state bans on same-sex marriage came back into effect, the Respect for Marriage Act would require states and the federal government to respect marriages performed in places where they are legal.

There are religious exceptions. Republican supporters have highlighted elements of this Senate version that protect religious and nonprofit organizations from having to support same-sex marriages.

“I will support the substitute amendment because it will ensure that our religious freedoms, one of the foundations of our democracy, are respected and protected,” said West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. in a report after helping to break the filibuster.

It took months of behind-the-scenes efforts to rally more than ten Republicans.

This is all academic right now. The bill only passes in the event that the now solidly conservative Supreme Court, which has delighted in overturning precedent, revisits the Obergefell v. Hodges who created a national right to marry for same-sex couples.

Two of the justices who voted in favor of the ruling were replaced by Republican-appointed conservatives, meaning that if the case were heard today, there's a good chance it would be decided differently.

As Justice Samuel Alito appeared to want to end abortion rights precedent overturned by the Supreme Court earlier this year, CNN's Ariane of Vogue wrote about how the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization could affect issues like marriage. Read his story.

Here's a brief history of the role marriage equality played in the past election years:

Today, it is Republicans and Democrats, and a Democratic president, working together to protect same-sex marriage from a government institution.

During this period, public support for same-sex marriage increased, from about a quarter of the public the year the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law to 71% in a Gallup poll this year.

This issue has played a role in several American elections, including, arguably, the one that just took place.

Here's a brief history of the role marriage equality played in the past election years:

In 1996, Republican majorities in the House and Senate sensed a political opening after President Bill Clinton refused to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

They were also trying to preempt a Hawaii court ruling that could have legalized same-sex marriage in that state. Fearing that every state would be forced to recognize same-sex unions, Republicans pushed the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA.

It declared marriage to be between a man and a woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize marriages. This too denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples. In 2013, part of DOMA was deemed unconstitutional.

DOMA received wide approval. Democrats like then-Sen. Joe Biden I voted for the bill. Current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and many other Democrats whose names you'll recognize were among the 342 people who voted for the bill in the House.

Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was among 67 members to vote “no,” along with Rep. Steve Gunderson, who was the only openly gay Republican in the House at the time.

In 2004, Putting anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot in key states like Ohio was smart politics. This helped George W. Bush win re-election to the White House and the Republican Party gain seats in the U.S. Senate.

Bush approved a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Democratic candidate John Kerry also opposed same-sex marriage at the time.

In 2008, Even as more members of his party began publicly supporting marriage equality, Obama maintained his opposition.

He recently stated and wrote that he has always personally supported same-sex marriage. rights. His campaign aide, David Axelrod, wrote that Obama made a calculated decision to oppose same-sex marriage.

“He reluctantly accepted the advice of more pragmatic people like me and changed his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would refer to as a ‘sacred union,’” Axelrod wrote in his memoir.

In 2012, Following then-Vice President Biden's lead, Obama officially moved on the issue and said he now supports marriage equality. It was a big moment.

A few years later, in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.

“I’m fine with that,” Trump said in 2016 during an interview with “60 Minutes.”

He would then boast of being a champion of gay rights, although many LGBTQ activists would disagree.

The politicians of the 90s have largely evolved with the country.

But one of the Supreme Court's relics from the '90s, Justice Clarence Thomas, recently questioned the 2015 marriage ruling he opposed. As a result, Republicans and Democrats are coming together again, in less than a generation, to undo what they did in 1996 and try to guarantee marriage as a right for all Americans.



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