The US House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill providing federal protections for same-sex marriage, fearing the Supreme Court would reverse recognition of such unions.
The Respect for Marriage Act was passed in the Democrat-controlled chamber by a vote of 267 to 157, but prospects are uncertain in the Senate.
Forty-seven Republican lawmakers joined Democrats to vote in favor of the bill, which was met with scattered applause on the House floor when it was passed.
Democrats have 50 seats in the 100-member Senate and 10 Republican votes would be needed to get the measure on the agenda.
The Respect for Marriage Act would force US states to recognize a valid marriage entered into in another state, protecting not only same-sex marriage but also interracial marriage.
The bill repeals the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples, in 2013, but the law was left on the books.
“The bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act will enshrine and protect marriage equality and ensure legal, same-sex and interracial marriages are recognized,” said Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that enshrined abortion rights nationwide, on June 24, sparking predictions that conservative judges could override other landmark decisions.
Same-sex marriage remains a worthy target for some Republicans and the religious right in the United States, although 71 percent of Americans said they support such relationships in a Gallup poll in May.
By putting the Respect for Marriage Act to the House vote, Democrats forced Republicans to publicize the issue ahead of the midterm elections in November.
Clarence Thomas, one of the court’s most conservative judges, in his unanimity of overturning abortion rights, raised fears that other progressive gains could also be jeopardized.
Thomas argued that the court should also examine its rulings on contraception and same-sex marriage.
Thomas — whose wife Ginni Thomas has made false claims that Donald Trump won the last election — was the only judge to advance such arguments of the nine serving on America’s highest court.
But the court’s shift to the right under Trump, who appointed three new conservative judges, has made Democrats, activists and progressive groups fear for his future rulings.
The House plans to vote later this week on the right to contraception law, which would protect access to contraceptives.
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