Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Drop Everything and Pass This (Almost) Nothingburger



No, Amy, just no:

As noted by HuffPost

The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill to codify protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, a historic vote aimed at protecting people’s civil rights in the event that the conservative-led Supreme Court decides to dismantle marriage equality on the heels of gutting abortion rights.

The Respect for Marriage Act passed, 61 to 36. Every Democrat present voted for it, and they needed at least 10 Republicans to vote with them. They got 12...

The measure now heads to the House and, assuming it passes, to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that the House plans to take up and pass the bill as soon as next Tuesday.

The bill does two things: It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that banned same-sex marriage, and it requires states to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states. It also ensures the same protections for interracial marriages.

Klobuchar's tweet is wrong on several levels: 1) "marriage equality" (i.e., same-sex marriage) already had been protected by the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in Hodges v. Obergefell that no jurisdiction could prohibit it: 2) whatever is protected by the bill is not protected merely by action in the Senate but must also be passed in the House (as noted in the ABC News video below)- which might alter it with an amendment by the chamber's Republicans- and signed by the President; 3) the bill applies to interracial, as well as same-sex, marriages.

Other than that, the esteemed Senator from Minnesota has it exactly right.  By contrast, ABC News political reporter Brittany Shepherd seems to understand at least that the legislation is limited in scope- which (presumably) Klobuchar also does, but who as a Senator has motive to hype it. However, Shepherd also referred to it as a "monumental move for Democrats" and a "magnanimous, huge win for Joe Biden and Democrats." 


 


HuffPost explains

The bill does two things: It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that banned same-sex marriage, and it requires states to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states. It also ensures the same protections for interracial marriages.

Same-sex and interracial marriages are, of course, already legal nationwide. But Congress is pushing through this bill in response to conservatives on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this year, destroying 50 years of precedent, and suggesting that they could use the same rationale for overturning landmark decisions that have established the right to same-sex and consensual relationships.

Justice Clarence Thomas, for one, had this to say in a concurring opinion when the court overturned Roe v. Wade in June: “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

The Supreme Court already had overturned the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act, in 2013 in United States v. Windsor. If the current bill is not enacted into law, jurisdictions nonetheless could not prohibit same-sex marriage, thanks to Hodges v. Obergefell

This bill would guarantee full faith and credit for intra-sexual and interracial marriages were Hodges to be overturned, such that a state enacting prohibition of same-sex marriage would be required recognize such a marriage which took place elsewhere. Good, but call me unimpressed.

Meanwhile, Republicans- including the most likely Speaker of the House- Kevin McCarthy- in the next Congress- are threatening to refuse to raise the debt limit in order to force a reduction in spending, including in Social Security and Medicare. Spending cuts would be disastrous; a default would be disastrous. But, hey, now if the Court overturns its ruling on same-sex marriage, a state banning gay marriage would be required to recognize the marriage of two men or two women married in a state permitting such unions. 

Several of those twelve Republicans who voted "aye" would sooner sooner run naked through a Chick-fil-A restaurant than vote for anything substantive proposed by Democrats. But they voted for this bill. Senator Klobuchar is thrilled, but we should not be shocked by this.




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