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AHRC Applauds Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act Passing House

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 267-157, with 47 Republican Votes. The bill repeals the aged and repulsive Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), previously dealt with under case law by the Supreme Court of the United States, but under threat since the reversal of Roe v Wade. The Respect for Marriage Act codifies additional federal legal protections for the marriages of same-sex couples, transgender people, and interracial couples. The bill has the strong support of President Biden, who has pledged to sign it into law when passed by Congress.

African Human Rights Coalition (AHRC) applauds the legislation for many reasons: While the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA a decade ago, today’s action by the House to repeal it not only sends a strong message that "gay marriage" is no longer a prudent divider to use LGBTQI+ people for political gain, but also that America will not tolerate the threat by a Justice of the Supreme Court to rob Americans of entrenched equal rights, and worse yet through the actions of a Trump stacked anti-gay court.

Indeed Justice Clarence Thomas effectively issued such a threat through his judgment in the reversal of the abortion case of Roe v Wade, in flagrant disregard of the legal principle stare decisis. Thomas basically noted in the judgment that marriage equality is also on the chopping block. However now with legislation it is not an option for SCOTUS to pull a reversal in defiance of established precedent as they had done with the abortion rights case. AHRC reminds of the importance of marriage equality: It confers many federal rights on couples that State laws cannot provide. Such as the right of a bi-national spouse to sponsor a foreign spouse for a green card and citizenship. When DOMA was in effect one of the greatest injustices was the separation or exile of couples from different countries. Unlike their straight counterparts DOMA kept partners apart with untold hardship and devastating consequences. There are many other such rights especially impacting health care and finances of couples - taxes, social security etc.

When Justice Clarence Thomas issued his "veiled" (um maybe veiled) threat against America's LGBTQI+ community pertaining to same-sex marriage, within the context of the reversal of women's reproductive rights, suggesting that marriage equality is a State by State issue, he failed miserably as a jurist! Why? Because the reality is that there are many Federal rights conferred on couples by marriage that a State cannot confer. Examples include social security, taxes and extremely importantly IMMIGRATION related rights, such as the RIGHT to sponsor a spouse for a green card and citizenship- which CANNOT be obtained through any State! His failure extends to absurd when he is suggesting that American should be ROBBED of their rights to equal treatment under the law. He abuses his constitutional oath and the evidence is in a judgment he signed off on. I find such behavior beneath the stature of the bench and impeachable. He is purposely invoking unequal treatment and his THREAT is having a terrorizing impact on our community. It is cruel. Fortunately the Legislature can ACT to secure the demise of the cruel DOMA that served to hurt over 60,000 binational couples for so many years. Now it is up t the SENATE - will ANY Republicans care about our equality? This legislation must pass the Senate. If it does not - the midterms will be a slaughter house for Republicans.


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