House Passes Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage in an Effort to Counter Supreme Court
The House of Representatives passed a bill protecting same-sex marriage on Wednesday, in an effort to counter the recent Supreme Court decision that some worry could threaten the legality of such unions.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 222 to 189, amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and other areas.
Supporters of the bill argue that it is necessary to ensure that same-sex couples are not denied basic rights because of their sexual orientation.
“This legislation is about making sure that we are a country that stands for equality and fairness for all people, no matter who they are or who they love,” said Rep. David Cicilline, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Opponents of the bill, however, argue that it infringes on religious freedom and could lead to legal challenges against businesses and individuals who hold traditional views on marriage.
“This bill is an attack on religious liberty and an attempt to force Americans to violate their deeply held beliefs,” said Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who voted against the bill.
Supreme Court Decision Sparks Concerns
The bill comes in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that has alarmed some advocates for same-sex marriage.
In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that a Catholic foster care agency in Philadelphia could legally refuse to place children with same-sex couples based on the agency’s religious beliefs, even though the city required all agencies to work with LGBTQ families.
Some worry that the ruling could lead to further legal challenges against same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ rights.
“We cannot allow this decision to become a license for discrimination,” said Rep. Cicilline. “We must ensure that every person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, has access to the same rights and opportunities in our society.”
Senate Vote Uncertain
The bill now heads to the Senate, where its future is uncertain. Democrats would need the support of at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster and pass the bill.
Several Senate Republicans have indicated that they support protections for LGBTQ individuals, but it’s unclear whether they would vote for the bill as written.
“I think there’s a way to craft legislation that both protects individual rights and protects religious liberty,” said Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine. “But the devil is in the details.”
It remains to be seen what action the Senate will take on the bill, and what implications the recent Supreme Court decision will have for same-sex marriage in the years to come.
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