WASHINGTON (AP) — The House is ready to vote to guard same-sex and interracial marriages, a direct confrontation with the Supreme Court, whose conservative majority in overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access has sparked concerns that other rights enjoyed by countless Americans could also be in jeopardy.
Tuesday’s vote within the House is an element political strategy organising an election-year roll call that can force all lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats, to go on the record with their views on the high-profile social issue. It’s also a part of the legislative branch asserting its authority, pushing back against an aggressive court that appears intent on revisiting many settled U.S. laws.
“As this Court may take aim at other fundamental rights, we cannot sit idly by,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a press release.
While the Respect for Marriage Act is anticipated to pass the House, it is sort of certain to stall within the Senate, where most Republicans would surely block it. It’s considered one of several bills, including those enshrining abortion access, that Democrats are pushing to confront the court’s conservative majority. One other bill, guaranteeing access to contraceptive services, is ready for a vote later this week.
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal a leftover law still on the books from the Clinton era that defines marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between man and woman. It might also provide legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses and advantages on the idea of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.
The 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act, had principally been sidelined by Obama-era court rulings, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the rights of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, a landmark case for gay rights.
But last month, in disposing of the Roe v. Wade constitutional right to an abortion, the conservative court majority put in place throughout the Trump era left critics concerned there could also be more to return.
In writing for almost all overturning Roe, Justice Samuel Alito argued for a more narrow interpretation of the rights guaranteed to Americans, saying the appropriate to an abortion is just not spelled out within the Structure.
“We subsequently hold that the Structure doesn’t confer a right to abortion,” Alito wrote.
In a concurring opinion, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas went further, saying other rulings much like Roe, including those around same-sex marriage and the appropriate for couples to make use of contraception, needs to be reconsidered.
While Alito insisted in the bulk opinion that “this decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” others have taken notice.
Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff within the landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and now running as a Democrat for the Ohio House, said after the court’s ruling on abortion, “After we lose one right that we’ve got relied on and enjoyed, other rights are in danger.”