The U.S. House of Representatives voted 258-169 for the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) Thursday (Dec. 8), 10 days after the Senate approved the same legislation. With the votes, Congress has decided to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). While the measure does not require states to legalize same-sex marriage, it mandates federal and state recognition of any gay marriage considered legal in the jurisdiction where it took place.
Passage of the proposal by both the Senate and House serves as a watershed, congressional redefinition of the institution of marriage. Congressional Democrats led the effort to enact such legislation while expressing concerns a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court might reverse its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that legalized gay marriage. Congress’ approval occurred during a lame-duck session prior to the transfer of House control to the Republicans that will take place in January.
The approval of same-sex marriage in federal law now lacks only the signature of President Biden, who has endorsed the bill.