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Warner & Kaine Statement on House Passage of the Respect for Marriage Act

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and extend federal protections for gay and interracial marriages:

“We are glad to see the House of Representatives take the important step of passing the Respect for Marriage Act to guarantee that same-sex and interracial marriages are recognized across the country. Following decisions by the Supreme Court to overturn established precedent in rulings such as Dobbs, it is crucial that we sign this bill into law to ensure that the right of marriage is recognized across the nation for all Americans.

“This legislation is a first step. We must also act to ensure that same-sex and interracial couples are protected in the Commonwealth by repealing Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages. As long as this ban is in place, too many Virginians stand to see one of their most fundamental rights dismantled should the Obergefell ruling be overturned.”  

In 2006, Virginia passed a ban on same-sex marriage which remains in the Virginia Constitution today. The Obergefell Supreme Court decision, which is currently the law of the land, overrides Virginia’s ban. However, if the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell, the right of LGBTQ Virginians to marry in the Commonwealth would be jeopardized unless that ban is repealed.

Sens. Warner and Kaine were among the 212 members of Congress who signed an amicus brief arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex married couples should have the same legal security, rights, and responsibilities that federal law provides all other married couples. Sens. Warner and Kaine are also cosponsors of the Equality Act, which would amend federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service.

The Respect for Marriage Act passed through the Senate last month by a vote of 61-36, with both Sens. Warner and Kaine supporting the legislation. It now heads to President Biden’s desk for signature.