Senate Passes Bill to Protect Same-Sex and Interracial Marriage, Sen. Van Hollen Releases Statement

November 30, 2022

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) released the following statement regarding his vote to pass the Respect for Marriage Act:

“No American should face discrimination – no matter who they love or where they live. The Respect for Marriage Act promises every legally married couple that their union will be given equal recognition and protection across the United States. It provides loving couples with the peace of mind that no court, state legislature, or local government can interfere with their marriage. I was proud to cast my vote in favor of this bill, and I urge the House to take it up and send it to President Biden to be signed into law as soon as possible. This is an important step forward, but we have so much farther to go in ensuring that all of our communities are afforded equal rights and equal protection under the law – and I will never stop fighting to secure that.”

This bill provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.

Specifically, the bill repeals and replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)

The bill also repeals and replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.

(The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The bill allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.

The bill heads back to the House and needs to pass a religious liberty amendment made by the Senate before it can head to President Biden.

Vote Summary on Passage of the Bill (H.R. 8404, as amended ) Vote Number: 362 Vote Date: November 29, 2022, 05:52 PM

Required For Majority: 3/5  Vote Result: Bill Passed

Vote Counts: YEAs 61 to NAYs 36 Not Voting 3

49 Democrats voted yes, 1 did not vote. (Raphael G. Warnock GA, did not vote)

12 Republicans voted yes, 2 did not vote (Ben Sasse Neb., and Patrick J. Toomey Pa. didn’t vote)

36 Republicans vote no.

Full vote summary can be read here: