The US House of Representatives on Thursday gave final approval to legislation protecting same-sex marriage, a historic step in the fight for national recognition of same-sex marriages that reflects a dramatic shift in societal attitudes.
President Joe Biden is expected to soon sign the measure that would require all states to recognize same-sex marriages, a relief for the hundreds of thousands of couples who have fought the 2015 Supreme Court ruling. Same-sex marriages have since been legalized.
The bipartisan legislation, passed 258 to 169 with nearly 40 Republican votes, protects interracial unions by forcing states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the vote in January as one of her last ceremonies in office due to a holiday, wiped away tears before signing the bill, which was immediately sent to the White House.
Pelosi declared, “The law is a resounding victory for love and liberty.”
In the pre-vote debate, several gay legislators talked about what this meant for them and their families. Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire said he is set to marry “the love of my life” next year and it is “inconceivable” that some states would not recognize his marriage.
Although the bill received some Republican votes, a majority of that party opposed it, and some conservative groups lobbied aggressively against it because, they say, the law did not provide enough protections for people who are same-sex partners. Wants to deny services to couples.
Rep. Bob Good of Virginia said, “God’s ideal design is actually a lifelong marriage between one man and one woman.” “And it doesn’t matter what you think or what I think, that’s what the Bible says.”
Democrats pushed for rapid passage of the bill in the House and Senate after the Supreme Court struck down federal rights to abortion in June. The decision included a comment by Judge Clarence Thomas that suggested reconsidering gay marriage.