Cory Jennings-DuBois | News Editor
The Senate recently passed a bill that mandates federal recognition of same-sex marriages during a lame-duck Congress meeting. This is seen as a large moment of bipartisanship before Democrats lose their unified hold of Capitol Hill.
The vote was 61 yes to 36 no, and it allowed the bill to be on it’s way to becoming law just before the Republicans took up the majority of the House of Representatives at the start of January. The passing of this bill has a major impact on the country and it’s citizens, and is seen as one of the final major legislative moves before the Republicans shift the focus within the House. The plans that the Republicans have hinted that they would be dealing with is President Biden’s administration, and that they would be administering investigations on his family members. The fact that this same-sex marriage recognition bill passed this close to the shift of the House is incredible, and can be seen as a big win for Democrats.
Though the bill is not yet finalized. It must win approval by the House, and voting should occur within the next week. This would in turn allow President Biden to sign off on the bill. He has said previously that he looks forward to finalizing the bill, as well as the bipartisan coalition that allowed it to glide through the Senate. The President said, “a fundamental truth: Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love.”
A major aspect of this bill is that it would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. This Act denied same-sex couples the federal and financial benefits that heterosexual couples are granted. It prohibits states from refusing the validity of an out-of state marriage, but it also allows, due to conditions required of Republicans, that religious organizations do not need to validate same-sex marriages in any form and could refuse goods or services to be provided to them. They also could not lose tax-exempt status or other benefits that come with refusing to acknowledge same-sex couples.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, said “Because of our work together, the right of tens of millions of Americans will be strengthened under federal law. That’s an accomplishment we should all be proud of.”
This bill hits home with Mr. Schumer, as his own daughter is married and expecting a child with a woman. He explains while fighting back tears how difficult it has been for them, as they have been living in fear that their marriage could be invalidated and nulled. On this topic, he said “I want them to raise their child with all the love and security that every child deserves. The bill we are passing today will ensure their rights won’t be trampled upon simply because they are in a same-sex marriage.”
The passing of the legislation of this bill was a big moment for Democrats, as they have been holding onto this moment for a very long time. They have countless times tried to show their commitment to same-sex couples and how they have tried to grant them every right any other human would have, and so by passing this legislation, it is a big step towards the right direction.