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House Passes Bill Protecting Gay Marriage, Countering Supreme Court Threat

47 Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the Respect for Marriage Act.

On Tuesday, July 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to protect same-sex marriage with a final bipartisan vote of 267 to 157 with 47 Republicans joining the Democrats in favor.

The bill — known as the Respect for Marriage Act — would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level, a precautionary move in case the supreme court reconsiders marriage equality as Justice Clarence Thomas hinted at when the court overturned Roe v. Wade last month. 

The bill also includes protections for interracial marriages and would "also enact additional legal safeguards for married couples intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin, including empowering the attorney general to pursue enforcement actions," CNN reports.

“It is critical to ensure that federal law protects those whose constitutional rights might be threatened by Republican-controlled state legislatures," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. "LGBTQ Americans and those in interracial marriages deserve to have certainty that they will continue to have their right to equal marriage recognized, no matter where they live.”

The future of the bill is now unclear. It passed the House, but in order to pass the Senate, it would need 10 Republicans to join the Democrats to break through the filibuster.

“Today, we take an important step towards protecting the many families and children who rely on the rights and privileges underpinned by the constitutional guarantee of marriage equality,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, who introduced the bill, said in a statement. “The Respect for Marriage Act will further add stability and certainty for these children and families.”

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