(Headline USA) The U.S. House approved legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid grandstanding rhetoric that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade could jeopardize other so-called rights that have been interpreted by the court.
Tuesday’s election-year roll call, 267-157, was largely a political ploy, forcing all House members to go on the record while symbolically seeking to paint the colateral judicial branch as having been corrupted by politics.
“We are here for a political charade, we are here for political messaging,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.
“If gay couples want to be as happily or miserably married as straight couples, more power to them,” said Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., who also voted in favor of it.
In its recent ruling for Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health, the court’s conservative majority expressly stated that it had no intention of using the reversal as a springboard to overturn other controversial cases involving identity politics.
Justice Clarence Thomas, among the staunchest of Dobbs‘s proponents on the court, is himself in an interracial marriage.
However, facing a potential red-wave election in November, Democrats have grasped for ways to coalesce their diverse constituencies around the perceived abortion outrage, which otherwise has minimal impact on the LGBT community.
In a robust but lopsided debate brimming with hollow platitudes, they argued intensely and often personally in favor of enshrining so-called marriage equality in federal law.
“The extremist right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has put our country down a perilous path,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., in a floor speech setting Tuesday’s debate in motion.
Ahead of Tuesday’s voting, a number of lawmakers joined protesters demonstrating against the abortion ruling outside the Supreme Court, which sits across from the Capitol and remains fenced off for security during tumultuous political times.
Capitol Police said among those arrested were 16 members of Congress, although evidence suggests that the arrests—including those of far-left Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan—were largely staged. Fellow ‘Squad’ member Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, D-N.Y., even appeared to feign being handcuffed by putting her hands behind her back as police escorted her through the crowd.
While the so-called Respect for Marriage Act easily passed the House with a Democratic majority, it is likely to stall in the evenly split Senate, where most Republicans would probably join a filibuster to block it.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell declined to express his view on the bill, leaving an open question over how strongly his party would fight it, if it should come up for a vote in the upper chamber.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said he would not support it. “The predicate of this is just wrong. I don’t think the Supreme Court is going to overturn any of that stuff.”
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal a law from the Clinton era that defines marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and a woman. It would also provide ostensible legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses and benefits on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.
The 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act, had basically been rendered moot by Obama-era court rulings, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which established the rights of same-sex couples to marry nationwide.
It’s one of several bills that Democrats are proposing to confront the court’s conservative majority. Another bill, guaranteeing access to contraceptive services, is set for a vote later this week.
The decision to use legislation, although appearing to be a cynical and baseless attack on the court, is in fact an affirmation of the U.S. Constitution, which never delegated to the judiciary any sort of authority to legislate from the bench.
The Dobbs ruling, for instance, made no determination about the legality of abortion but simply said that the Roe precedent was unconstitutional and should never have been allowed to impose a federal abortion mandate in the first place.
The issue now resides with individual states to determine its legality, with some reverting back to rules that were in place before the nearly 50-year-old ruling.
While Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the Dobbs majority opinion, insisted in that “this decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right,” Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have deliberately tried to gaslight their low-information base into believing otherwise.
“The MAGA radicals that are taking over the Republican Party have made it abundantly clear they are not satisfied with repealing Roe,” Schumer said.
He pointed to comments from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who said over the weekend that the Supreme Court’s decision protecting marriage equality was “clearly wrong” and state legislatures should visit the issue.
But Schumer did not commit to holding a vote on the marriage bill.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press