Trahan Votes to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage
Washington, December 8, 2022
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), a member of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, bipartisan legislation that will protect marriage equality at the federal level and strengthen state protections for same-sex and interracial couples.
“Millions of same-sex and interracial couples across our nation are breathing a sigh of relief today. Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act guarantees that their marriages will be recognized and safeguarded no matter what federal courts rule or state legislatures try to pass,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “This is an overdue step in the right direction, but we cannot declare victory yet. This compromise legislation contains loopholes that leave LGBTQ+ couples vulnerable to discrimination and, if the Supreme Court were to overturn same-sex marriage protections, it could leave many with no option to marry the person they love in the state they call home. We must keep pressing for passage of legislation like the Equality Act to guarantee full protections under the law for LGBTQ+ Americans.”
The Respect for Marriage Act provides critical safeguards for same-sex and interracial couples. Specifically, the legislation repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, protects marriage equality at the federal level by ensuring that the federal government recognizes a marriage performed legally in any state, and strengthens state protections by prohibiting discrimination against same-sex or interracial couples that were married legally in another state.
The legislation passed today was crafted in direct response to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization in which he questioned the high court’s previous decisions on same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and contraception. While the Respect for Marriage Act provides much needed protections for same-sex and interracial couples should the Supreme Court overturn those decisions, it would not prohibit GOP-controlled states from implementing new restrictions on marriage equality. Additionally, to garner the Republican support necessary to pass the Senate, the bill also contains language allowing religious organizations to deny goods and services to same-sex couples on the basis of religious objections.
To close those loopholes, Trahan has been a strong supporter of the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against any person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in public spaces and services, housing, education, credit, jury service, and federally funded programs. It would also bar any attempts by states to pass laws that infringe on LGBTQ+ Americans’ ability to live openly and freely.