U.S. House of Representatives approves bill protecting same-sex marriage

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that would strengthen same-sex marriages at the federal level, with a bipartisan coalition supporting a measure addressing growing concerns that the Supreme Court could strike down equal marriage.

A total of 47 Republicans have joined Democrats in backing the measure, the ‘Respect for Marriage’ Act, which would codify federal protections for same-sex couples that were put in place in 2015, establishing gay marriage as a right under the Fourteenth Amendment, as reported by ‘The New York Times’.

The bill passed by a vote of 267 in favor and 157 against. Support among House Republicans, while far from a majority, has been notable and reflects a broader acceptance of same-sex marriage as settled law.

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Party leaders have split on the vote on the bill, with the top two Republicans, Representatives Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, voting against it. The number three Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, has joined Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, in backing passage.

The measure faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which is divided and where it is unclear whether the bill will be able to get the support of at least ten Republicans to move it forward.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, has urged members to pass the bill, stating during floor debate that the measure “simply says that each state will recognize the marriages of other states and not deny a person the right to marry on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.”

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On the other hand, Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan has come out against the legislation, saying it was “unnecessary and wrong” for the House to take up the bill.

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