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Monday, February 6, 2023

A bill that would protect the rights of people to marry within their own sexual orientation has been approved by Congress

On Thursday, the House of Representatives gave its final approval to legislation that would mandate federal recognition for marriages between people of the same gender. A coalition of lawmakers from both parties voted in favour of the measure in the closing days of the Congress that was led by Democrats.

The historic legislation was approved by Congress with a vote of 258-169, with one member voting “present,” capping an improbable path for a measure that only a few months ago appeared to have little chance of being enacted into law. The legislation was sent to President Biden to be signed into law, and one member voted “present.”

When Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, delivered the final total, she did so in a triumphal manner, slamming the gavel many times as if to applause. The House members roared.

Ms. Pelosi gave a speech from the House floor before the vote in which she said, “Today, we stand up for the values the vast majority of Americans hold dear: a belief in the dignity, beauty, and divinity — spark of divinity — in every person, and abiding respect for love so powerful that it binds two people together.”

In a statement, President Joe Biden referred to the action taken by Congress as “an important step” in ensuring that people in the United States have the freedom to marry the person they love.

The passage of the proposal mirrored a larger cultural and political change on the topic of same-sex marriage, which just a decade ago was seen by members of both parties as contentious and perilous territory. The shift has been reflected in the success of the measure. Its acceptance has spread so far and wide across American culture that it is now capable of garnering decisive majorities among both parties in both houses of Congress. In the years that have passed since then, marriage between people of the same gender has gained widespread acceptance by members of both parties. Furthermore, studies indicate that more than 70 percent of voters approve marriage between people of the same gender.

The House of Representatives has revisited the Respect for Marriage Act for the second time in the previous five months. In the summer of 2016, 47 Republicans in the House of Representatives joined Democrats in supporting the proposal. This degree of excitement on the part of Republicans for same-sex marriage rights astonished and pleased many who favour the legislation. This sparked an intensive effort on the part of a group of proponents in the Senate who came from both sides of the political aisle. They were given a boost in the background by a coalition of influential Republican donors and operatives, some of whom are gay, in their quest to find at least ten Republican votes in that chamber to move the legislation forward.

The proposal was changed in the Senate to address concerns raised by certain Republicans that it would penalise or limit the religious freedom of organisations who refuse to recognise same-sex weddings. These Republicans feared that the law would have the opposite effect. This version won the vote a month ago, therefore it has to go back to the House for a second vote before the amendments can be approved.

After a debate in which many G.O.P. lawmakers condemned the legislation as immoral, only 39 Republicans voted “yes” on Thursday, which is less than one-fifth of the party’s contingent in the House. This was after the revisions appeared to have failed to build support for the bill among Republicans in the House.

Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Republican from Missouri, delivered an impassioned speech that brought her to the verge of tears. In it, she called the religious freedom provisions “hollow” and pleaded with her colleagues to join her in opposing what she referred to as a “misguided” and “dangerous” bill. Hartzler’s speech brought her to the brink of tears.

The strategy drew the ire of some progressives who were eager to exact a political price from Republican opponents of the measure, but it yielded the hoped-for result: the legislation passed the Senate last month with the support of 12 Republicans, surpassing the 60-vote threshold that has frustrated many attempts at passing bipartisan legislation.

A procession of Democrats took to the floor of the House on Thursday to argue in favour of the proposal. Some of the Democrats were homosexual, and many of them spoke about their personal experiences with same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act, which passed in 1996 and defined marriage as being between a man and a woman and permitted states to refuse to acknowledge same-sex weddings conducted in other jurisdictions, would be repealed as a result of this bill. The Respect for Marriage Act would, after it has been signed into law, make it illegal for states to refuse the legality of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of a person’s gender, colour, or ethnicity.

He referred to the Defense of Marriage Act by its initials and was one of the first openly homosexual members of Congress. Former Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, was there to celebrate what he regarded as the end of yet another shameful piece of legislation.

Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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