The United States Senate codifies same-sex marriage: what it means and how we got here

On Tuesday, in a vote of 61 to 36, the US Senate voted to protect same-sex and interracial marriage rights with the support of both parties.

The legislation, known as the Respect Marriage Act (RMA), would repeal the Defense Against Marriage Act of 1996 that did not recognize same-sex marriages in all states and defined marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. The repeal would be it would amend the law to include same-sex marriage and require all states to recognize same-sex marriages.

As LGBTQIA+ hate crimes and legislation increase in the United States, with the overthrow of Roe V. Wade in June raising concerns gay marriage could be next, the piece of legislation had been on the Senate agenda for several months.

Gay Rights in America: How Did It All Start?

Two decades earlier, support for same-sex marriage in the country was low with only 30% of the country On aprobation. Now according to current surveys, 70% of the US currently supports gay marriage.

the The push for gay marriage rights began in 1969. during the Stonewall riots, also known as the modern American gay rights movement. A few decades later, in the 1990s, efforts to legalize gay marriage in the country began to emerge. However, in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Law (DOMA) was promulgated, which defines marriage as only the union between a man and a woman, totally and effectively violating the right to marry of same-sex couples.

Despite challenges, gay marriage rights continued to progress in 2003 after the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in the Lawrence vs. Texas decision. The same year, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage.

A decade later, in 2013, Edith Windsor challenged the Defense of Marriage Act, resulting in the Supreme Court striking down the legislation and declaring it unconstitutional.

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However, the turning point for gay marriage rights in the United States would not be until two years later in the Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court Case.

In 2013, James Obergefell and John Arthur James got married in Maryland, despite living in Ohio. Unfortunately, due to a terminal illness, Arther died several months later. Under Ohio law, the plaintiffs believed that Arthur would not be recognized as Obergefell’s legally married spouse on his death certificate and filed suit against the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Eventually, the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right in the United States and required all states to recognize gay marriage as legally binding.

RMA to protect gay marriage rights

For months, negotiations over the RMA raged in the Senate, with Democrats pestering Republicans over their support for the bill.

After roe v wade was overturned, Democratic senators knew they needed to garner the support of their fellow colleagues. As a result, Senators Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), and Thom Tillis (NC) embarked on a mission to convince their fellow Republicans to support the bill. law.

In doing so, Wisconsin’s Baldwin was surprised by the number of senators who supported legislation after the Obergefell decision, specifically because many claimed they know or have gay people in their family.

“ME having so many colleagues who have friends, relatives, staff members who are gay and married,” said Baudouin. “So there are a lot more people based on those relationships who want to get to yes. And again, those were really moving conversations.”

However, many Republicans still had concerns about things included in the bill, particularly whether the federal government would recognize polyamorous couples. Others worried that it could affect adoption agencies or harm universities and religious institutions.

Despite concerns, Democrats convinced 12 fellow Republicans to break the filibuster and pass the RMA.

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Now the RMA will go to the House, and if it passes there, it will land on the president’s desk for final signature.

When it takes effect, the RMA will repeal the Defense Against Marriage Act to include same-sex marriage and strengthen the right to gay marriage in all 50 states.

One thing the bill still doesn’t guarantee, however, is the right of states to authorize same-sex marriage.

LGBTQIA+ hate in the US and around the world is still rampant

Just over two weeks ago youthe The United States experienced its last LGBTQIA+ hate crime and its 601st mass shooting in 2022.

On November 19, at the end of Transgender Awareness Week, a 22-year-old shooter walked into Club Q, the only gay club in the conservative city of Colorado Springs, and fired an AR-15 style rifle and pistol into a crowd of happy club goers. As a result of the mass shooting, five people would be killed and more than a dozen injured.

Many blamed the event on LGBTQIA+ hate legislation and restrictions that have swept across the country over the past two years, particularly towards the transgender community.

In August, the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District in North Texas approved various policies ban all classroom discussions about “gender fluidity.” The restrictions will limit the way race, gender and sexuality education is taught, prevent transgender youth from using the restrooms of their choice, and ban certain books in the library that deal with anything to do with LGBTAIQ+.

In September, Texas also began investigating families with transgender children as child abuse cases.children who fear being separated from their families because of who they are.

A family wrote to transgender Child Protective Services (CPS) worker Morgan Davis, who had come out as transgender nine months earlier, saying they live in constant fear and that her daughter “has been traumatized by the prospect that she might be separated from her parents and could lose access to the medical treatment that has allowed her to thrive.”

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To this day, several cases remain open.

Other states have also implemented bans, including South Carolina, which enacted a ban on transgender boys from playing female sports, and Tennessee, where bills have been introduced to ban gender-affirming healthcare.

However, LGBTAIQ+ hate is not only seen in the US, but all over the world.

Wednesday in Japan A Tokyo court upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage. They then added that the absence of a legal system to protect same-sex families violates human rights, but this will not make a difference in the decision.

Although association certificates cover 60% of the population of Japan, the ban still stood and will unfairly prejudice same-sex couples from the same rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. However, hope has not been entirely lost as two cases on same-sex marriage are still expected to be decided, which could push lawmakers to overturn the ban.

On Wednesday, Russia also voted to toughen a bill described as a crackdown on “LGBTAIQ+ propaganda.”

The law will prohibit Russians from promoting homosexual relationships or publicly suggesting that they are normal.

The initial bill, passed in 2013, prohibited the “advertising of non-traditional sexual relations” between minors, but now it is extended to include adults as well.

LGBTQIA+ hate is growing rampant around the world as new legislation restricting the rights of the community becomes more pervasive and hate crimes occur more frequently. The Senate’s support for same-sex marriage is certainly a victory, but clearly LGBTAIQ+ people are still a long way from enjoying equality.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of — In the featured photo: Dublin Pride Parade on June 25, 2016. Font: Jose Milo, flickr.