On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill codifying same-sex marriage into federal law. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.
All House Democrats and 39 Republicans approved the measure, titled the Respect for Marriage Act, in a 258-169 vote. The decision follows last week’s bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate, where 12 Republicans voted alongside all Democrats in favor of the bill.
Following the approval of the Senate, Biden asserted he would “promptly and proudly” sign the bill into law once it reached his desk. As reported by The Hill, the president will participate in a signing ceremony with lawmakers.
In addition to enshrining same-sex marriage across the nation, the Respect for Marriage Act will also provide federal protections for interracial marriage. The legislation also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which recognizes marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and defines the word spouse as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”
While the House previously passed the bill in July, the lower chamber took it up again on Thursday after Senate Republicans initially warned that it would not protect religious freedom. Last month, an amendment to the bill was made so religious organizations would not have to provide services to same-sex couples.
During debate on the House floor, Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) expressed opposition to the bill regardless of the religious freedom amendment.
“I rise today in strong opposition to the so-called Respect for Marriage Act — honestly, the bill should be called the ‘Disrespect for Marriage Act,’” he said. “This bill certainly disregards God’s definition of marriage, a definition that has served his creation well for more than 5,000 years of recorded history.”
Democrats called for a bill enshrining same-sex marriage earlier this summer after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. At the time, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that Obergefell v. Hodges – a 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide – should be reconsidered.
The bill would ensure that the U.S. would recognize same-same marriage even if the Supreme Court overturned Obergefell, which would return the issue back to the states. Unlike the Supreme Court ruling, the legislation does not require that states perform those marriages.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.