July 19, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to today’s bipartisan House passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was introduced in the House yesterday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI). The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enshrine marriage equality for the purposes of federal law, and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced companion legislation in the House.

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter, and here:

“LGBTQ people are under attack: in state legislatures, by Governors, on social media, and within the Supreme Court, where anti-LGBTQ justices have stated their desire to reconsider LGBTQ protections from privacy to marriage equality. We welcome today’s House passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, a critical step to enshrine existing protections for LGBTQ couples and families, as well as interracial couples. A vast majority of Americans from all political backgrounds support marriage equality because they know LGBTQ people, our relationships and our families deserve the same recognition and protections as any other couple. We urge the Senate to take swift action to pass the Respect For Marriage Act to ensure our families continue to receive the protections that only marriage affords.” 

A record high number of Americans, 71%, support marriage equality, seven years after it was legalized nationwide in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.

The Respect for Marriage Act would:

  • Repeal DOMA. The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell, but DOMA is still officially on the books.  The new bill would repeal this statute once and for all.
  • Enshrine Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes. The bill requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  This gives same sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to receive equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires.
  • Provide Additional Legal Protections. The bill prohibits any person acting under state law from denying full faith and credit to an out of state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage, provides the Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions, and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurrence in the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, wrote that the Court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Griswold decided that the Constitution protected privacy of marital couples to contraception; Lawrence protects privacy in same-sex relationships; Obergefell legalized marriage equality nationwide. Justice Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito also issued a formal rebuke of Obergefell on the Court’s opening day in October 2020.

GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide has guidance for reporters covering LGBTQ couples and families accurately and inclusively.