Baldwin, Collins press Senate colleagues to pass marriage equality legislation

Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Tuesday penned an op-ed in The Washington Post urging their colleagues to pass legislation guaranteeing federal protections for marriage equality.

The two called on the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which would guarantee legal marriage regardless of a couple’s sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

“Individuals in same-sex and interracial marriages need, and should have, the confidence that their marriages are legal,” Baldwin and Collins said in the op-ed. “These loving couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms of every other marriage.”

The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the House in July, would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.

“While a wedding ceremony and party are rites of passage that everyone should be able to enjoy if they wish, a legally binding marriage comes with another set of amazing rights and responsibilities,” Baldwin and Collins added, noting the tax benefits and the right to visit spouses in the hospital.

A 2013 Supreme Court ruling found that the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the government from recognizing same-sex marriages for the provision of federal benefits was unconstitutional, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. However, the law has remained in place. 

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, the right to privacy — which was previously used by the courts to guarantee interracial and same-sex marriage without codification by Congress — has been called into question.

Senate Democrats have recently considered adding the issue of marriage equality to the short-term government funding bill that Congress must pass by the end of the month. However, a spokesperson for Baldwin told Politico that the congresswoman is not in favor of this approach.

“That is not the Senator’s preferred path as she would like to see it taken up sooner,” Baldwin’s spokesperson said.

Tags Defense of Marriage Act government funding Interracial couples Respect for Marriage Act Same-sex couples Senate Susan Collins Susan Collins Tammy Baldwin Tammy Baldwin

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