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Neal Votes to Protect Marriage Equality

Congressman Richard E. Neal today voted to enshrine marriage equality into federal law.  The Respect for Marriage Act will officially repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a defunct and discriminatory statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage under federal law.  This legislation will also codify new protections ensuring that no married couple can be denied protections and benefits under federal law based on sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

“Today, I proudly voted to protect marriage equality across the country,” said Congressman Neal.  “With its decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court tossed out nearly 50 years of legal precedent and severely weakened the Constitutional right to privacy. The bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Marriage Act will enshrine marriage equality into federal law and prohibit state officials from discriminating against same-sex and interracial couples.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, some Justices have set their sights on other rulings upholding basic rights and freedoms.  In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas explicitly called for the Court to consider overturning other landmark rulings, including the Obergefell v. Hodges decision recognizing the Constitutional right to marriage equality. 

The Respect for Marriage Act will take several steps to combat this assault:

  • Enshrining Marriage Equality Into Federal Law: This legislation will require the federal government to fully recognize any marriage considered valid in the state where it was performed – providing same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to receive equal treatment under federal law.
  • Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act: While the Supreme Court has effectively voided the Defense of Marriage Act, this unconstitutional and discriminatory federal law still remains on the books.  The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal this statute once and for all.
  • Barring Discrimination By State Officials: This legislation prohibits state officials from denying recognition of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG.



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