Respect for Marriage Act Statement


November 29th, 2022

Statement from Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Deputy Director of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, on the passage by the U.S. Senate of the Respect for Marriage Act: 

The bipartisan vote by the U.S. Senate in support of the Respect for Marriage Act is an important step towards ensuring protections for LGBTQ+ families. We thank our own U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth for their support of this initiative.

This bill (1) repeals the archaic federal statutory definition of marriage as one only between a man and a woman, (2) ensures that the federal government will provide equal benefits to all married persons, so long as the marriage was valid at the time and in the place where it was officiated, and (3) requires all states to recognize valid marriages from other states, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. While the Respect for Marriage Act provides these protections against a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that erodes marriage equality across the country, this legislation would not stop a state from denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Still, we thank the U.S. Senate for acting to safeguard some of the protections of marriage equality in this country, particularly, ensuring equality in the provision of federal benefits for all married persons.

But there is much more the U.S. Senate can and must do to protect the right to privacy, bodily autonomy, and the liberty to form our own families without discrimination. We call on the U.S. Senate to pass the Equality Act, the Women’s Health Protection Act, and the Right to Contraception Act, among other important bills. As more and more state legislatures, governors, and judges roll back civil rights protections and prohibit access to and criminalize abortion, gender-affirming care, HIV prevention drugs, and other essential healthcare services, the Senate must act expeditiously to enshrine enduring protections in federal law.

The bill now goes back to the U.S. House of Representatives for a final vote before the bill is sent to the President for his signature.

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