Opinion | Nancy Pelosi: The Respect Marriage Act Rightfully Protects LGBTQ Unions


Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, is Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Since the historic Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell vs. Hodges Seven years ago, same-sex couples enjoyed the same marriage protections as other couples.

But right now, that fundamental freedom is under real, direct and urgent threat.

In June, the vast Republican majority on the Supreme Court eviscerated longstanding precedent and the right to privacy with its shameful decision to strike down Roe vs. Wade. Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly targeted marriage equality: he urged the court to reconsider Obergefell and change the lives of countless families across the country. While his legal reasoning is twisted and unsound, we must take Judge Thomas, and the extremist movement behind him, at face value.

Our Respect for Marriage Act combats this threat by requiring states to recognize same-sex marriages, as long as they are valid in the state where they were performed. It also finally repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, so that no future MAGA majority in Congress or president in the White House can use this policy as a weapon of bigotry.

We will soon send this vital legislation to President Biden for his signature: a glorious triumph of love, freedom and dignity for all.

This action is the latest step forward in House Democrats’ longstanding fight for full equality, waged alongside generations of fearless activists.

In my first speech on the floor of the House, I declared that “we must take the lead, of course, in the AIDS crisis.”

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During my first lecture, we wiped the egregious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy off the books, ensuring that gay and lesbian Americans can openly serve their country. We advanced justice for the millions at risk of violence simply because of who they are or love with our Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. And we dramatically increased funding to fight HIV/AIDS, here at home and all over the world.

Since Democrats regained a majority in the House four years ago, we have twice passed the landmark Equality Act, which would ensure full civil rights protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, in the workplace and in all the places. House Democrats also vigorously fought the previous administration’s abhorrent ban on transgender service members, which President Biden swiftly repealed upon taking office.

And now, we celebrate the Law of Respect for Marriage.

There is more work ahead. Horrifyingly, red states have tried to ban transgender athletes from the field of play, prosecute parents who seek gender-affirming care for their children, and even gag teachers for acknowledging the existence of same-sex couples.

Our nation will be forever grateful for the many extraordinary contributions LGBTQ Americans have made in the arts and sciences, health care and human rights, business and nonprofit organizations, and as leaders in our communities. To our LGBTQ friends, family, and neighbors: We see you, we support you, and we will never rest until you can enjoy the respect, dignity, and safety you deserve.

Just as I started my career fighting for LGBTQ communities, I’m delighted that one of the final bills I’ll sign as a speaker will be the Respect for Marriage Act: ensuring the federal government will never again get in the way of marrying the person who you love. .

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After the Obergefell When the decision was announced, Jim Obergefell declared to an ecstatic crowd in front of the Supreme Court: “Today’s Supreme Court ruling affirms what millions of people across the country already know to be true in our hearts: Our love is egalitarian”.

That’s a truth Democrats are proudly honoring this week as we pursue our mission to build a brighter, more just future for generations to come.