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The Respect for Marriage Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a bipartisan 267-157 vote on July 19. The bill seeks to codify the June 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriages nationwide, as well as the court’s June 1967 decision Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriages. Among the bill’s co-sponsors was Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), who stressed the urgency of passing legislation to protect rights the court may put into limbo.
“Last month, the Supreme Court issued a devastating opinion striking down Roe v. Wade, overturning decades of precedent and setting off alarm bells for millions of LGBTQ+ individuals who now fear that the loss of even more of their rights may be next,” Schiff said. “As Justice Thomas made clear in his concurring opinion, overturning Roe is just the beginning for this reactionary court, and he name-checked the right to same-sex marriage as one of the next rights that could fall.”
West Hollywood officials expressed cautious optimism over the House’s passage of the bill and praised Schiff for his work in the LGBTQ+ community.
“Our congressperson Adam Schiff continues to provide thoughtful leadership in a time of unprecedented political turmoil,” Councilman John D’Amico said. “Though Justice Thomas and the Supreme Court may try to shove LGBT Americans back in the closet and shut the door on our rights, we will not disappear, and we will not stop loving each other and ourselves. It’s clear that Justice Thomas and his ilk will find themselves and their prejudices in the dustbin of history soon enough.”
“In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the 14th Amendment requires all U.S. states to recognize same-sex marriages,” Mayor Lauren Meister said. “Thousands of people celebrated that ruling in West Hollywood with an incredible decision day rally to affirm that love wins. However, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court having overturned Roe v. Wade and the additional threats to basic rights that may follow given troubling comments made by Supreme Court Justices Alito and Thomas, this act is a necessary protective barrier for the continuance and ongoing recognition of marriage equality in this country.”
“Thank you to Congressman Adam Schiff for co-sponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act,” West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore Sepi Shyne said. “Many married LGBTQ+ couples, including my wife and I, have been worried about our rights since the Supreme Court’s dangerous opinion overturning Roe and Casey.”
“West Hollywood is both home to and has been a leading proponent of the fight for marriage equality and today’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act not only signals that our rights are under attack but also that we need to recommit to the fight to enshrine equality into law to protect the fights that we won in the past and those we’ll be facing in the immediate future,” Councilman John Erickson said.
“It is difficult to fathom that in 2022 we must take such aggressive action, yet this court has made such action necessary,” Schiff said. “Congress must not let a partisan, unrepresentative body roll back the clock on all the rights we hold dear. The Senate must now take up and pass this bill without delay.”
The bill will next go to the U.S. Senate, and it would need to overcome a 60-vote filibuster to make it to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“Our bill would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and ensure that marriage equality remains the law of the land,” said Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif. ), who is one of the bill’s sponsors in the Senate.
Regardless of its passage, West Hollywood council members assured that the city will remain a beacon for LGBTQ+ rights.
“West Hollywood has been and continues to be an LGBTQ+ safe haven,” Shyne said. “Our community always fights for the rights of our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors as well as for the rights of other marginalized people. We have and will always fight for the right to marriage equality.”
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