HARTFORD, Conn. — The U.S. House has passed the Respect for Marriage Act in a 258-169 vote Thursday, and it's now headed for President Biden's desk to be signed into federal law.
The legislation protects same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decades-long battle for nationwide recognition of such unions that reflect a stunning turnaround in societal attitudes.
Now, Connecticut's leaders and lawmakers, including House Representatives that had cast their vote Thursday, are reacting to the bill's passage.
U.S. House Representative John Larson released a statement saying,
“The government has a responsibility to protect American freedoms and that includes ensuring their marriages will always be recognized,” said Larson. “As a member of the Equality Caucus, I proudly voted for the Respect for Marriage Act. Same-sex and interracial couples should not have to live in fear that a future Supreme Court decision could invalidate their marriage. I was glad to join so many of my colleagues today in support of this measure.”
U.S. House Representative Rosa DeLauro said:
“Today’s action by Congress represents a determination to protect these civil rights that have been earned through generations of persistence,” said DeLauro. “I applaud the Congress for moving on a bipartisan basis to protect same-sex marriages and interracial marriages under federal law. I urge President Biden to waste no time in signing this critical civil rights legislation into law, so that millions can have the peace that their marriages are not in danger of being made void.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont shared a statement, saying,
“The fact that conservative activists and judges are targeting same-sex couples who are legally married by trying to remove that status from their lives and prevent them from receiving the legal protections that other couples receive is mindboggling, and I just will never be able to understand why some people are so dedicated to preventing others from living peaceful, happy lives.
“The continued harassment and bullying of our fellow LGBTQ Americans, including by elected officials, needs to end. The circumstances under which this bill are necessary are unfortunate, but I am grateful for those lawmakers in Congress who voted for its approval, including every member of Connecticut’s delegation. The right for same-sex couples to marry has been enshrined in Connecticut statutes for more than a decade, and I am glad to see that with President Biden’s forthcoming signature, similar protections will now be added to federal law.”
Connecticut state Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan released a statement, saying,
"Today, Congress finally righted many of the injustices of the Defense of Marriage Act and the historical hatred of Jim Crow. For millions of same-sex and interracial couples, their partnerships are now protected under federal law. It’s simple: everyone should be able to marry who they love.
"As one of only two openly gay legislators in the state of Connecticut, today is an important victory. While the fight for equality and LGBTQ+ rights continue, I’m hopeful, while remaining diligent."
In 2008, Connecticut became among the first states in the nation to provide marriage rights to same-sex couples, following the Connecticut State Supreme Court ruling of Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health. In 2009, Connecticut state lawmakers approved legislation codifying that ruling into state statutes to further secure those rights.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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