MSD students and staff largely support Respect for Marriage Act


Tribune News Service

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D- Wis., speaks with a reporter as she leaves the Senate floor after the Senate passed a procedural vote on federal legislation protecting same-sex marriages, at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 16, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Baldwin, the first openly gay woman to be elected to the House and the Senate, has led Senate negotiations on the bill. Photo courtesy of Drew Angerer/TNS

Kevin Hamm, Writer

The Senate voted 61-36 to pass the Respect for Marriage Act on Nov. 29. The bill would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which banned the federal recognition of same-sex marriage and let states refuse to recognize same-sex marriaged that were allowed by other states; interracial-marriages would also be granted new legal protections.

The bill was passed after the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, which prompted fears that the 2015 case that legalized gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, may be overturned as well. It is currently being debated by the House of Representatives, where it will likely pass and be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The bill was passed with bipartisan support, with 12 Republicans voting in favor of the bill after a bipartisan deal was reached. Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Thom Tillis, Mitt Romeny, Roy Blunt, Cynthia Lummis, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore, Dan Sullivan, Joni Ernst and Todd Young voted to pass it.

“For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQ+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” Biden said in a press statement the evening after the bill was passed by the Senate.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff support the Senate’s decision to protect LGBTQ+ couples.

“This is definitely a positive development for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and minorites, and I think the public perception of gay marriage will remain generally pro, but it won’t set a precedent for codifying protections for other groups into law because the bill isnt’t wholly encompassing to all issues,” senior Ben Laski said. “It also doesn’t truly codify protection for LGBTQ+ marriage into law, -since states that dont have laws supporting same sex marriage aren’t required to issue marriage licenses, though it’s still a good step forward.”

Opponents of the bill have cited concerns over its disregard of religious freedom as they argue that religious organizations and institutions that oppose same-sex marriage might lose their tax-exempt status or forced to violate their religious beliefs by serving same-sex couples.

Amendments to the bill to protect religious organizations from discriminations lawsuits were offered by Sens. Mike Lee, James Lankford and Marco Rubio, but were rejected by the senate.

“I’m not sure how this would change how people view LGBTQ+ couples, but hopefully this will give all those in such relationships more bravery and acceptance in being who they are; those who oppose this really need to ask themself how others’ relationships affect them at all,” Gender Sexuality Alliance sponsor Solymar Quesada said. “I think it could set a positive precedent and make congress have more of a conscience and hopefully protect other human rights.”

The passage of the Respect for Marriage Act comes at a time when 61% of Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage, and even think it would be beneficial according to a November 2022 Pew Research Poll.

After the bill is signed into law in December, social issues and the culture war will likely continue to be a main point of contention for the Republicans as they retake control of the house in 2023.