Sep 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Collins and Baldwin: It's time for the Senate to codify marriage equality

Photo of Susan Collins looking to her right
Sen. Susan Collins listens during a subcommittee hearing on June 22. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) urged the Senate on Tuesday to pass the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act in a Washington Post opinion piece that emphasized same-sex and interracial couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms of every other marriage.

Why it matters: Almost 50 House Republicans joined Democrats in July to pass the bill, which would enshrine marriage equality into federal law. Now Collins and Baldwin, who both co-sponsored the legislation, are calling on their colleagues to do the same.

What they're saying: The bill is "another step forward in the United States to prevent discrimination, promote equality and protect the rights of all Americans," Baldwin and Collins write.

  • "Individuals in same-sex and interracial marriages need, and should have, the confidence that their marriages are legal. These loving couples should be guaranteed the same rights and freedoms of every other marriage."
  • "The American people overwhelmingly agree," they noted, pointing to a 2022 Gallup poll that showed more than 70% of Americans support marriage equality. They also disputed claims that the bill would legalize polygamous marriage or strip away religious liberties.
  • "These partnerships deserve fairness and the recognition, stability and rights of marriage. They are an accepted part of American life."

Worth noting: "Married Americans are afforded tax benefits, often paying a lower rate. Married couples are able to receive earned benefits for spouses, such as Social Security, Medicare, disability and those from the armed services," they wrote. "Those who are legally married are able to visit their spouses when they are ill, while others are often not and are considered strangers under the law."

  • "It is time for the Senate to get the job done and pass this bill to protect marriage equality and ensure that all Americans are treated fairly and equally under the law."

The big picture: The Respect for Marriage Act is part of Democrats' response to conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' signaling that rulings on marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights and contraception could also be reconsidered after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

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