WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to continued right-wing threats to personal liberties, Congresswoman Madeleine Dean voted to enshrine marriage equality into federal law. The Respect for Marriage Act will officially repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a defunct and discriminatory statute excluding same-sex couples from marriage under federal law. This legislation will also codify new protections ensuring that no married couple can be denied protections and benefits under federal law based on sex, race, ethnicity or national origin. It passed in the House of Representatives with the support of 220 Democrats and 47 Republicans.

“With its decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court tossed out nearly 50 years of legal precedent and severely weakened the Constitutional right to privacy,” Rep. Dean said.  “This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will enshrine marriage equality into federal law and prohibit state politicians from discriminating against same-sex and interracial couples. We cannot assume any right is the law of the land with this extreme Supreme Court, and so we must protect this essential right — the right to marry the person you love — for all Americans.”

The Respect for Marriage Act will:

Enshrining Marriage Equality Into Federal Law: This legislation will require the federal government to fully recognize any marriage considered valid in the state where it was performed – providing same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to receive equal treatment under federal law.

Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act: While the Supreme Court has effectively voided the Defense of Marriage Act, this unconstitutional and discriminatory federal law still remains on the books.  The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal this statute once and for all.

Barring Discrimination By State Officials: This legislation prohibits state officials from denying recognition of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG.

Rep. Madeleine Dean is a mother, grandmother, attorney, professor, former four-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and U.S. Representative for the Fourth District of Pennsylvania.