House passes Respect for Marriage Act

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” on Thursday. The bill protecting the right to same-sex and interracial marriage heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to sign into law.


Grace Smith

United Action for Youth, or UAY, walks during the Iowa City Pride Parade in Iowa City on Saturday, June 18, 2022. Over 900 people walked in the parade.

Liam Halawith, Politics Reporter

The U.S. Congress passed the “Respect for Marriage Act” on Thursday with support from three of Iowa’s four representatives. The bill passed 258-169 after the legislation passed the U.S. Senate 61-36 on Nov. 28. 

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law, which enshrines civil rights protections for same-sex marriage and interracial marriage in the statute

The Majority of Iowa’s congressional delegation voted in support of the legislation protecting landmark civil rights. Iowa Republican Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson joined Iowa’s only Democratic Rep. Cindy Axne in voting for the bill on Thursday. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, voted against the legislation and has yet to release a statement on his vote. 

Iowa’s Republican senators split their votes on the bill when it came to a vote in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 28. Sen. Joni Ernst voted for the legislation while Sen. Chuck Grassley voted in opposition. 

Grassley said he thought the bill could have effects on religious liberty for those who oppose same-sex and interracial marriage on religious grounds. He voted against the bill on final passage after amendments to further protect religious freedom failed. 

Ernst said religious liberties were not in danger after the bill was amended.  

RELATED: Grassley, Ernst split on same-sex marriage vote

The legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman in federal law, allowing states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. 

Axne said she supported the bill’s provisions that repealed the Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996. 

“Today, I voted to make sure everyone can marry the person they love without the federal government getting in their way,” Axne said. “The Respect for Marriage Act sends a clear signal that hate and bigotry don’t have a place in America by repealing the hate-filled Defense of Marriage Act and enshrining married couples’ right to equal protection.”

Hinson said she supports the bill because it maintains the status quo. However, Hinson said congress should address other issues instead.

“This bill maintains the status quo. We should be focused on reducing inflation, securing our border, and restoring American energy independence — these are the issues Iowans talk to me about every day and want Congress to prioritize,” Hinson said.