ACTION ALERT: Urge Senators to Co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act
September 20, 2022
Since June 26, 2015, same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States under the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Flashforward seven years, a bipartisan group of senators is seeking to codify same-sex marriage nationwide and provide additional legal protections for marriage equality under the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA). While H.R. 8404 passed in July, garnering 47 Republican votes of support in the House, the Senate leadership is delaying a floor vote until after the midterm elections. Between now and November, it’s critical that constituents contact their senators, urging them to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act.
WHY IT MATTERS:
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade contains a provision proclaiming that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not pertain to sex discrimination. This provision means that a host of legal protections based on the 14th Amendment that women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights advocates have gained over the last half century are now at risk.
The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), S. 4556, sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), aims to counter these potential attacks on equal rights by requiring the federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States. The proposed bill would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by a Republican-controlled Congress during the Clinton administration, which unconstitutionally denied equal rights for same-sex couples in determining federal benefits and protections. The Supreme Court overturned this Act by the decision in United States v. Windsor in 2013.
Additionally, dozens of faith organizations are backing the Respect for Marriage Act. Nearly 40 major faith-based organizations, like the Catholics for Choice and Interfaith Alliance, reinforce that the bill’s tenets recognize the diversity of belief and maintenance of equal respect for same-sex and interracial couples.
The Respect for Marriage Act needs to have not only all 50 Democratic senators but must have bipartisan support to pass. Three Republicans have become co-sponsors, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tom Tillis (R-NC). The bill requires 10 GOP votes to overcome a filibuster and advance towards passage. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (R-WI), a lead negotiator, has asked for more time to line up cosponsors and wants a vote set the day after the elections. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has agreed to hold off scheduling a vote on the bill.
What Can I Do?
Contact your senators to encourage them to become co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. If they are already a co-sponsor, thank them for their support and urge them to press for a floor vote after the mid-term elections.
How Do I Do It?
Please call both of your senators to urge that they sign on to the Respect for Marriage Act as co-sponsors; the Capitol Switchboard number of 202-224-3121. You can find your Senators’ contact information at U.S. Senate: Senators. To see the current co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, you can access the bill’s page on Congress.gov. If your senators’ names are not on the list, you should contact them and encourage them to become co-sponsors by calling Sen. Feinstein’s office to add their names to the bill. You can also send an email message via senators’ official websites.
What Do I Say?
“My name is _____ and I am a constituent in (YOUR TOWN). I am calling to urge Senator [NAME] to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act H.R. 8404/S. 4556. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade has highlighted how critical it is to protect our Constitutional right to legal same-sex and interracial marriage. Voicing your support for this bill is the first step to ensuring the protection of marriage equality in the United States.” Please sign on to the Respect for Marriage Act by contacting Sen. Feinstein’s office and then help to bring it to a floor vote. Thank you for your assistance.”
We have a chance to protect our right to legal same-sex and interracial marriage. Let’s make our voices heard.