Issue: H.R. 8404, Respect for Marriage Act. Question: On Motion to Concur in the Senate Amendment.
Result: Passed in House, 258 to 169, 1 present, 4 not voting. Already agreed to by the Senate (Vote Number 362, 11-29-22). Became Public Law 117-228 (signed by the President, 12-13-22). Democrats and GOP scored.
Freedom First Society: The Respect for Marriage Act should more correctly be termed the Disrespect for Marriage Act. The Act addresses a non-existent threat to same-sex marriage. It will nevertheless have severe consequences for people of faith. President Biden signed the legislation at a celebratory event at the White House with more than 2,000 attendees.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Congressional Research Services Summary:
Public Law (12/13/2022)
Respect for Marriage Act
This act provides statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Specifically, the act replaces provisions that define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex with provisions that recognize any marriage between two individuals that is valid under state law. (The Supreme Court held that the current provisions were unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor in 2013.)
The act also replaces provisions that do not require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states with provisions that prohibit the denial of full faith and credit or any right or claim relating to out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. (The Supreme Court held that state laws barring same-sex marriages were unconstitutional in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015; the Court held that state laws barring interracial marriages were unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.) The act allows the Department of Justice to bring a civil action and establishes a private right of action for violations.
The act does not (1) affect religious liberties or conscience protections that are available under the Constitution or federal law, (2) require religious organizations to provide goods or services to formally recognize or celebrate a marriage, (3) affect any benefits or rights that do not arise from a marriage, or (4) recognize under federal law any marriage between more than two individuals.
Analysis: Proponents of this now public law regularly tell us that this is only a first step toward full equality for gays and their total acceptance in the marketplace. But their real agenda is revolution. And that work will not be completed until a totalitarian world government has total control and freedom is eliminated.
We are also experiencing the strategy of Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci and his disciples, who pointed out that the way for Communism to come to power in the more advanced countries was not by violent takeover but by subverting their institutions.
For the rest of our analysis, we draw from the opposition recorded in the Congressional Record (12-8-22) [Emphasis added]:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member Committee on the Judiciary:
“Mr. Speaker, the Democrats want Americans to believe that the Supreme Court at any moment–in fact, the chairman just referenced this–at any moment could step in and overturn its opinions in Obergefell and Loving. It is just not true. The Supreme Court is not poised to overturn its opinions in either of those decisions….
“After the House last considered this bill in July, the Senate was forced to make significant changes to the bill. Unfortunately, those changes do not go far enough in protecting religious liberty.
“For example, the Senate amendment does not protect a private entity that is determined to be a State actor as a result of the services they provide on behalf of a government. These entities could be adoption agencies, shelters, or other service providers operated by a religious organization under contract with a city or State.”
Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R-Alabama), member House Appropriations Committee:
“Madam Speaker, I am in strong opposition of H.R. 8404, the so-called Respect for Marriage Act.
“I remain steadfast in my longstanding belief that marriage, as has been the tradition in this nation and around the world, is between one man and one woman.
“To my colleagues who may be swayed by the inadequate attempts made in the Senate to increase religious protections in this flawed piece of legislation: The changes simply do not do enough to protect those that could face the harmful effects of this bill….
“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .’”
“In passing this bill, our government IS making a law that prohibits the free exercise of religion. These are not just words. They are fundamental to our country and who we are as a people.”
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Missouri), member House Armed Service Committee:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to adamantly oppose H.R. 8404, the disrespect for marriage act. This unnecessary and misguided legislation not only disrespects the importance of traditional marriage for the health of a family, but also disrespects people and organizations of faith who have the constitutional right to carry out their mission in accordance with their most deeply held beliefs….
“Let’s be clear: Obergefell is not in danger, but people and institutions of faith are.
“This bill only serves to further demonize biblical values by establishing a private right of action against organizations who believe in natural marriage, opening the floodgates for predatory lawsuits against people of faith. The bill’s only purpose is to hand the Federal Government a legal bludgeoning tool to drive people of faith out of the public square and to silence anyone who dissents.
“Sadly, the Senate rejected three amendments that would have eliminated the private right of action and prevented the government from infringing on the freedom of religion.”
Rep. Bob Good (R-Virginia), member House Education and Labor Committee:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. Honestly, this bill should be called the disrespect for marriage act.
“This bill certainly disrespects God’s definition of marriage, a definition that has served His creation well for more than 5,000 years of recorded history. And His definition is the only one that really matters…. “The fact is that traditional, biblical marriage is the foundation of a strong society and a strong culture.
“I will say it once again: almost everything that plagues our society is a failure to follow God’s design for marriage, morality, and the family. The perfect, omniscient, and immutable God knows what He is doing….
“Perhaps even worse, this bill eliminates all religious freedom protections for churches or other faith-based organizations and requires everyone to participate in and recognize gay marriage….
“It is simply designed to undermine marriage as a union between one man and one woman. God’s perfect design is, indeed, marriage between one man and one woman for life, and it doesn’t matter what you think or what I think. That is what the Bible says.
“This proposal is yet another Democrat attempt to undermine the fundamental values which formed our Nation and continue to hold our country together: recognition of the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman and respect for the freedom to operate according to your sincerely held religious beliefs.
“The legislation we are considering today is a sobering indication of the erosion of the moral values that made this Nation great….
“All great nations in societies fall from within. With Democrats threatening all sense of values and decency and family today by sexualizing kids in school, redefining sex and gender, and trans-surgery and mutilation of minors, it makes no sense for any Republican to support their efforts to codify their views on marriage.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan), member House Education and Labor Committee:
“The bill betrays our country’s commitment to the fundamental right of religious liberty by depriving religious and faith-based organizations of their tax-exempt status and depriving individual people of faith of being able to carry out fully their faith without repercussions. Licenses and government contracts are also put at risk here with this legislation.”
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member Committee on the Judiciary:
“Mr. Speaker, I would just first say, the previous speaker talked about being out of step with the American people.
“Are you kidding me?
“The Democrats are the party who think men can use women’s restrooms; the Democrats are the party who think boys can participate in girls’ sports; the Democrats are the party who think you can take the life of an unborn child right up until their birthday; and the Democrats are the party who actually had a witness in committee who said that she thought men could get pregnant.
“And we are the ones who are out of step?
“You have got to be kidding me.”