Respect for Marriage Act passes Senate; California lawmakers say more to be done

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Thursday, December 1, 2022
Respect for Marriage Act passes Senate; CA lawmakers say more needed
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The Respect for Marriage Act is one step closer to being signed into law, requiring all states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Respect for Marriage Act is one step closer to being signed into law requiring all states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages.

"For us, it was a historical win. It's an affirmation that the United States will stand up and protect the freedom for all Americans to marry the person they love," said Tony Huang, executive director of Equality California.

The act also protects same sex-marriages if the Supreme Court were to overturn its 2015 decision to legalize same-sex marriage, with Obergefell v. Hodges coming under threat this summer after the overturning of Roe v Wade.

MORE: LIST: These 36 Republican senators voted against landmark bill to protect same-sex marriage

"As the Dobbs decision came out and specifically Justice Thomas called out the LGBTQ community about how Obergefell may have been wrongly decided, people were rightly concerned," said Huang.

The decision came down during San Francisco Pride and shook up the community

"I think it's a matter of time that they're going to come for us," said Ana Lazo, at the time.

That panic turned into pressure as people put the spotlight on Congress to pass more protections.

MORE: Senate passes landmark bill protecting same-sex marriages; House approval comes next

"This is really quite a historic step to have federal law, explicitly same-sex marriage rights, throughout the country," said Dr. Melinda Jackson, a political science professor at San Jose State University. "The recognition of same-sex marriage as a federal law that applies in every state is a much stronger protection than a right to same-sex marriage based on Supreme Court ruling."

However, some California lawmakers say there's more to be done.

"We need to get Prop 8 out of our constitution," said State Senator Scott Wiener.

MORE: LGBTQ+ lawmakers look to remove Prop 8 from CA constitution amid fears of marriage ban again

Voters approved a California ban on same-sex marriage in 2008. It was later overturned in court, but it's still part of Constitution.

"We need to send a constitutional amendment to the voters in 2024, get it repealed and then move forward," Wiener said.

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