By McKenzie Ward
On Nov. 29, the United States Senate voted and passed the Respect for Marriage Act which ensures federal recognition of marriages regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity and requires all 50 states to recognize valid marriages that were conducted where they are legal, according to Axios.
The House of Representatives still needs to vote on this before it is sent to President Biden for his signature.
This act may serve as only a temporary fix as it doesn’t require states to keep same-sex marriage legalized if Obergefell v Hodges is overturned, but it is truly wonderful news to hear given the concerns many of us, including myself, have had in terms of the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
For years, I heard people tell me, “Oh, the SCOTUS would never overturn Roe v Wade. Stop being dramatic.” So, when the SCOTUS voted to overturn Roe v Wade and allowed states to decide whether abortion was legal, I knew it was only the beginning.
In the leaked Roe v Wade majority draft from the SCOTUS, Justice Samuel Alito stated that the reason why abortion isn’t protected under the Constitution is because “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision… .”
Since then, I have been deeply worried about the future of landmark cases such as Loving v Virginia, which ruled that banning interracial marriage would violate the Fourteenth Amendment and Obergefell v Hodges, which ruled that same-sex marriage was protected under the Fourteenth Amendment.
If enough of the SCOTUS justices truly believe that just because the Constitution doesn’t directly state that the right to marry who you want is protected, then we need to be fast acting on taking the necessary steps to protect rights not clearly mentioned in the Constitution.
And while the United States Congress is in the midst of passing this act, the biggest roadblock in this process has been the Republican Party.
The Senate’s vote for this act was 61 in favor and 36 opposed to the passing of it.
Out of those 61 votes in favor of the act, 12 of them were Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Todd Young, and Lisa Murkowski, according to The Washington Post.
To those 12 senators who voted in support of this bill, thank you for recognizing the importance of this act and using your vote to protect the rights of millions of people.
And while I am thankful for the 12 Republican senators who voted in favor of this act, I am disgusted and revolted by the 36 Republicans who voted against it.
However, I am sadly not surprised.
Time and time again, a majority of the members of the Republican Party have voted against efforts to protect the rights of marginalized groups.
According to Gallup, 71% of Americans and 55% of Republicans are in favor of same-sex marriage. Gallup has also reported that 91% of Americans are in support of interracial marriage.
Despite receiving support from the majority of the country, a majority of the Republican members of Congress are not voting in a way that reflects what most of the country wants.
However, the Republican Party’s hypocrisy does not stop there when discussing votes on this act.
The Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who is a Republican senator representing Kentucky, voted against this act despite the fact that he himself is in an interracial marriage.
The hypocrisy that plagues the Republican Party is beyond revolting and something needs to change.
The purpose of this act is to provide all United States citizens with the same respect for their marriage and it is concerning that 36 Republican senators cannot comprehend the importance of this.
No one should get to decide who one gets to marry because as Lin Manuel-Miranda once said, “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”