Marriage equality Marriage equality

The Respect for Marriage Act passed the US House despite six of Pennsylvania’s GOP representatives voting against it. The bill would protect marriage equality through federal law.

All nine of Pennsylvania’s Democratic congressional representatives — and even three Republican congressmen — voted in favor of enshrining same-sex and interracial marriages into federal law.

The US House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act Tuesday by a vote of 267-157. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Bucks), Dan Meuser (Luzerne), and Scott Perry (York) crossed party lines, voting in favor of the bill. 

Amid concerns that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservatives, Democrats argued intensely in favor of protecting marriage equality in federal law. Republicans claimed the bill is unnecessary.

“The extremist right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has put our country down a perilous path,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware), in a floor speech before the vote. “It’s time for our colleagues across the aisle to stand up and be counted. Will they vote to protect these fundamental freedoms? Or will they vote to let states take those freedoms away?”

While the Respect for Marriage Act easily passed the House with a Democratic majority, it is likely to stall in the evenly split Senate, where most Republicans would probably join a filibuster to block it. 

The act would repeal a law from the Clinton era that defines marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and a woman. It would also provide legal protections for interracial marriages by prohibiting any state from denying out-of-state marriage licenses, and benefits on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.

The 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act, was sidelined by a court ruling, which established the rights of same-sex couples to marry nationwide, a landmark case for gay rights.

But last month, in his concurring opinion in overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas said other rulings similar to Roe, including those around same-sex marriage and the right for couples to use contraception, should be reconsidered.

Who Voted Against the Respect for Marriage Act?

  • John Joyce (R-Blair) 
  • Fred Keller (R-Snyder) 
  • Mike Kelly (R-Butler)
  • Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny)
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) 
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Centre)

Full Pennsylvania Congressional Roll Call 

  • Brendan F. Boyle (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) Yea
  • Madeleine Dean (D-Montgomery) Yea
  • Michael F. Doyle (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia) Yea
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) Yea
  • Chrissy Houlahan (D-Chester) Yea
  • John Joyce (R-Blair) Nay
  • Fred Keller (R-Snyder) Nay
  • Mike Kelly (R-Butler) Nay
  • Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) Yea
  • Dan Meuser (R-Luzerne) Yea
  • Scott Perry (R-York) Yea
  • Guy Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) Nay
  • Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware) Yea
  • Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster) Nay
  • Glenn Thompson (R-Centre) Nay
  • Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) Yea