On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would formally repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and codify a 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage into federal law.
Axios reports that the bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, passed with 267 votes in favor and 157 votes against, with 47 Republicans joining every Democrat in support. The legislation is widely seen as a response to the Supreme Court’s latest wave of rulings in favor of the Constitution, which largely overturned numerous liberal policies on such issues as gun control and abortion.
Among the Republicans who voted in favor are House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Penn.), and NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). However, the bill was opposed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and House leadership ultimately did not tell members of the Republican caucus how to vote on the bill.
The bill was introduced on Monday by a group of top Democrats from the House and Senate, as well as Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), the sole Republican sponsor. In addition to declaring that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional “right,” the bill also codifies interracial marriage into federal law.
“As this Court may take aim at other fundamental rights, we cannot sit idly by as the hard-earned gains of the Equality movement are systematically eroded,” said House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Monday. “If Justice Thomas’ concurrence teaches anything, it’s that we cannot let your guard down or the rights and freedoms that we have come to cherish will vanish into a cloud of radical ideology and dubious legal reasoning.”
Nadler was referencing language written by Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion in the decision of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the landmark ruling which overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ultimately returning the matter of abortion back to the individual states. In his opinion, Thomas explicitly mentioned the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, as one of the cases that the court’s new conservative majority may have to revisit in the future.
The unusually high level of Republican support for the bill has led to speculation that the legislation could see the required minimum of 10 Republicans in the Senate vote in favor as well, which would be enough to overcome any potential filibuster by opponents of the bill.