House of Representatives to vote on same-sex marriage, resists court

The House of Representatives will vote to protect same-sex and interracial marriages, a direct confrontation with the Supreme Court, whose Conservative majority overrode abortion access by Roe v. Wade has raised concerns that countless Americans’ other rights may be at risk.

Tuesday’s vote in the House of Representatives is part of a political strategy that establishes an election-year roll call that will force all lawmakers, Republicans and Democrats alike, to put their views on the high-profile social issue on the record. It’s also part of the legislature, asserting its authority and standing up to an aggressive court that seems bent on overhauling many established US laws.

“As this court may target other fundamental rights, we cannot stand by,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, DN.Y., said in a statement.

While the Respect for Marriage Act is expected to pass the House of Representatives, it is almost certain that it will stall in the Senate, where most Republicans would certainly block it. It’s one of several bills, including those entrenching access to abortion, that Democrats are pushing to confront the conservative majority of the court. Another bill guaranteeing access to contraceptive services is due to be voted on later this week.

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal a surviving Clinton-era statute that defined marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and a woman. It would also provide legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage certificates and benefits on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was largely overturned by Obama-era court decisions, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the right of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, a landmark case for gay rights.

But last month, when the Roe v. Wade was abolished on abortion, the conservative court majority introduced during the Trump era left critics worried there might be more to come.

In a letter to the majority that overthrew Roe, Justice Samuel Alito advocated a narrower interpretation of the rights guaranteed to Americans, saying abortion rights are not enshrined in the Constitution.

“We therefore believe that the Constitution does not grant a right to abortion,” Alito wrote.

In a unanimous opinion, Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas went further, saying other rulings similar to Roe’s, including those relating to same-sex marriage and couples’ right to contraception, should be reconsidered.

While Alito, in the majority opinion, insisted that “this decision affects the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” others have taken note.

Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark ruling legalizing same-sex marriage and now running as an Ohio House Democrat, said after the court’s ruling on abortion: “When we lose a right that we have relied on and enjoyed , other rights are at risk.”

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