November 30, 2022

Whitehouse Cheers Senate Passage of Historic Respect for Marriage Act

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation to enshrine marriage equality into federal law.  Whitehouse, who is a cosponsor of the bill, released the following statement after it was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan 61-36 vote:

“The radical far-right majority planted via the Federalist Society on the Supreme Court has demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to roll back constitutional rights.  In the Court’s disastrous Dobbs decision, Justice Thomas put a target on the historic Obergefell decision that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.  Today, the Senate passed Congressman Cicilline’s bill to place the right to marry out of this activist Court’s reach.  We affirm what the American people already understand: every person deserves the freedom to marry the one they love,” said Whitehouse.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and Susan Collins (R-ME).  A companion bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and David Cicilline (D-RI).

The Respect for Marriage Act would:

  • Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which the Supreme Court rendered inoperative with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell;
  • Require that the federal government consider an individual married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  This gives same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires;
  • Prohibit any person acting under color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage; and
  • Provide the U.S. Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.

Meaghan McCabe, (401) 453-5294

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921