ICYMI: Senators Baldwin, Collins Lead Pu…


washington d.c.-Today the Washington Post published an op-ed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) urging their colleagues to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which they presented with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in July. Their legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Actenshrine marriage equality for the purposes of federal law and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality.

The Senate must unite on marriage equality

By: Sense. Tammy Baldwin and Susan Collins

Click on HERE read the op-ed on washington post website

Millions of American families have come to rely on the promise of marriage equality and the freedoms, rights and responsibilities that come with the commitment to marry the person you love.

But Congress has failed to enshrine marriage equality for same-sex and interracial marriages in law. That’s why we’re working to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan law that’s another step forward in the United States to prevent discrimination, promote equality, and protect the rights of all Americans.

People living in same-sex and interracial marriages need and should know that their marriage is legal. These loving couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms of any other marriage. The American people overwhelmingly agree.

Over the past 30 years, Americans have become more supportive of marriage equality. In 1996, less than a third of Americans – just 27% – supported same-sex marriages. A quarter century later, in 2022, more than 70% of Americans support marriage equality, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

We all have family, friends, colleagues or neighbors who are in these marriages. These partnerships deserve fairness and recognition, stability and marriage rights. They are an integral part of American life.

While a wedding ceremony and party are rites of passage that everyone should be able to enjoy if they wish, a legally binding marriage comes with another set of incredible rights and responsibilities. Married Americans enjoy tax advantages, often paying a lower rate. Married couples can receive benefits earned for spouses, such as Social Security, Medicare, Disability, and Armed Forces. Those who are legally married can visit their spouse when they are sick, while others are often not and are considered foreigners by law. In a dire situation where a spouse is incapacitated and unable to make their own medical decisions, their better half has the right and the responsibility to make those tough decisions for them, as they should.

The Respect for Marriage Act is a simple and straightforward measure, only four pages long – it is shorter than this editorial. The bipartisan legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that allowed states and the federal government to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages validly solemnized in other states. The Respect for Marriage Act would simply require the federal government to recognize a marriage if the marriage was valid in the state where it was solemnized. This would ensure that legal marriages enjoy unqualified faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s gender, race, ethnicity or national origin. This legislation has won bipartisan support in Congress because it gives same-sex and interracial couples the certainty that they will continue to receive the same equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples.

Although it is less than 500 words, the Respect for Marriage Act has been misunderstood, leading to false claims and misinterpretations of its scope. In fact, this legislation does not legalize or recognize polygamous relationships or marriages. Polygamous marriages are already illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and this bill neither authorizes nor recognizes them.

In addition, religious freedom is a founding principle of our republic, and the Respect for Marriage Act honors this principle. Our bipartisan legislation leaves intact religious freedoms and the protections afforded to individuals and organizations under federal law. We recognize that some may need more clarity on this point, and that is why we have worked with our colleagues in the Senate to develop legislative clarification language that makes it clear what the Respect for Marriage Act does not. wouldn’t – it won’t take away or alter the protections of religious liberty or conscience.

The House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act with strong bipartisan support, and now it’s a worthy use of Senate time to stand together, and with the American people, for marriage equality. .

We worked across party lines to rally the Senate and build support for the Respect for Marriage Act because we should be able to agree that same-sex and interracial couples, regardless of where they live residence, both need and deserve the assurance that their marriage will be recognized by the federal government and that they will continue to enjoy the freedoms, rights and responsibilities that accompany all other marriages.

It is time for the Senate to do its job and pass this bill to protect marriage equality and ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally under the law.

Click on HERE read the op-ed on washington post website

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