Bill enshrining federal definition of “marriage” awaits Senate vote

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published by the Alabama Baptist.

A bill to codify same-sex “marriage” at the federal level could go to a Senate vote in September, and opponents of the bill are working to raise awareness before it is considered.

House Resolution 8404, known as the The US House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act on July 19 with 267 yes votes and 157 no votes. The bill would shift the authority to define marriage to the federal government and require all states to recognize same-sex “marriages.” The bill would also replace previously adopted language that, for federal law purposes, defines marriage as “between a man and a woman” and spouse as “a person of the opposite sex.”

This language was part of the Defense of Marriage Law (DOMA), which came into force on September 21, 1996. DOMA also allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex “marriages” granted under the laws of other states. The Supreme Court decision of 2015 in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex “marriage” nationwide invalidated DOMA.

The move to pass a federal marriage law comes 25 years after DOMA was passed and just weeks after the Supreme Court repealed Roe v. calf and returned the power to regulate abortion to the states.

In part, the attempt to pass new federal law defining marriage is in response to written comments from Deputy Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who in a unanimous opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization seemed to indicate that upper skinhow roe should be reconsidered.

Legislative Effort

If the court were to overturn upper skin, the power to define and regulate marriage would be returned to the states under DOMA. The Respect for Marriage Act would use the legislative process to replace DOMA and eliminate review upper skin.

The Respect for Marriage Act also allows the Justice Department to intervene in cases of violations of the law and establishes a “private right of action” that allows individuals who feel their legal rights have been violated to sue rather than go to federal court wait or state government to take action.

Advocates of a biblical view of marriage are affected on many levels by the language of the Respect for Marriage Act. The first is the provision that establishes a federal definition of marriage that includes same-sex spouses. Second, empowering activist groups or individuals to sue individuals and organizations that believe marriage is between a man and a woman only. Third is the uncertainty of what such a law would mean for the tax exemption of nonprofit organizations that disagree with the law’s definition of marriage.

“The misleadingly named law enshrines same-sex ‘marriage’ in federal law and threatens the religious freedom of millions of Americans who follow the biblical definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.” reads a statement from the Alliance Defending Freedom Church Alliance.

After the July House vote, 83 groups signed an ADF-authored letter and sent it to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging him to oppose the law. Ahead of the expected Senate vote, ADF is asking concerned department heads to let lawmakers know where they stand on the definition of marriage.

Click here for more information or to read the ADF letter here.

To contact your congressman and provide feedback, use the “provide feedback” link to the right of the Invoice overview here.

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