House confirms approval of same-sex marriage protections


The US House confirmed this Thursday (8) the recognition of same-sex marriage, in a vote already expected after the intense articulation that took place in the Senate last week.

Until now, this type of union is guaranteed by the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, and the approval of the agenda in Congress, transforming the right into law, was considered essential to protect the device.

The approved project establishes the Law of Respect for Marriage, which does not force states to celebrate gay marriages, but obliges them to recognize these unions and guarantees federal recognition of marriages regardless of the sex, skin color or ethnicity of the people involved.

The debate took shape after the reversal of the right to abortion in the country, precisely due to a change in the understanding of the Supreme Court. The move paved the way for conservative states to pass laws imposing restrictions on the procedure.

The case was the clearest manifestation of the court’s conservative turn following Donald Trump’s term (2017-2021), who appointed three of the court’s nine current judges. From it, the Democrats began an effort to, in legal jargon, “codify” relevant issues —that is, to turn them into law, which gives more weight and makes reversal by court decision more difficult.

Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George HW Bush and considered the most conservative judge on the court, even wrote in June that the court could review other decisions, including the one that recognizes gay marriage and the one that allows the purchase of contraceptive methods without restrictions.

The law passed this Thursday also protects interracial marriage, although there is no longer any significant questioning of this type of union in American society.

Efforts to legalize same-sex marriage intensified in the 1990s, especially after the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Sanctioned by then-President Bill Clinton, the text defined that, for the federal government, marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that no state was obliged to recognize the validity of a same-sex marriage authorized by the laws of another state.

It was a blow to the civil rights movement for LGBTQIA+ populations, but since then, victories have come little by little. In 2003, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’ so-called sodomy law and found similar bills in other states unconstitutional — at the time, 14 of them in some way punished same-sex relationships.

That same year, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, paving the way for a series of laws across the country, even though the issue was opposed by then-president George W. Bush.

The Supreme Court’s decision recognizing gay marriage would only come in 2013. At the time, the court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, in a decision first limited to 13 states and the capital, Washington; two years later, equal marriage was defined as a constitutional right applicable in all 50 states. The bill approved on Thursday puts to rest the Defense of Marriage Law of the 1990s and transforms same-sex marriage into federal law.

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