|Long title||To repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage, and for other purposes.|
|Enacted by||the 117th United States Congress|
|Effective||December 13, 2022|
|Number of co-sponsors||189|
|Public law||Pub. L. 117–228 (text) (PDF)|
|Statutes at Large||136 Stat. 2305|
|Acts repealed||Defense of Marriage Act|
|U.S.C. sections amended||1 U.S.C. § 7|
28 U.S.C. § 1738C
The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA; H.R. 8404) is a landmark United States federal law passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), requires the U.S. federal government and all U.S. states and territories to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial civil marriages in the United States, and protects religious liberty. Its first version in 2009 was supported by former Republican U.S. Representative Bob Barr, the original sponsor of DOMA, and former President Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA in 1996. Iterations of the proposal were put forth in the 111th, 112th, 113th, 114th, and 117th Congresses.
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that the 14th Amendment requires all U.S. states to recognize same-sex marriages. This decision rendered the last remaining provision of DOMA unenforceable and essentially made RFMA de facto federal law. The future of same-sex marriage in the United States was put back into question in 2022, when a concurring opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization argued the Court "should reconsider" the Obergefell decision. RFMA officially repealed DOMA and requires the federal government to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages, codifying parts of Obergefell, the 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor, and the 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia. In addition, it compels all U.S. states and territories to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial marriages if performed in a jurisdiction where such marriages are legally performed; this extends the recognition of same-sex marriages to American Samoa, the remaining U.S. territory to refuse to perform or recognize same-sex marriages.
In July 2022, RFMA was reintroduced to Congress, with revisions including protections for interracial marriages. The Act passed the House in a bipartisan vote on July 19, 2022. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin announced on November 14, 2022, that a bipartisan deal had been struck, and that they expected the legislation to reach 60 votes to break the filibuster. A motion of cloture passed 62–37 in the Senate on November 16. On November 29, the Senate passed it by a 61–36 vote, with a large majority of Senate nays originating from Republican Senators in the Southern United States. On December 8, the House agreed to the Senate amendment by a 258–169 vote, with one member voting present (abstention). 39 Republicans voted yea. President Biden signed the bill into law on December 13, 2022. Public opinion polls of same-sex marriage in the United States indicate a strong majority of Americans are in favor; interracial marriage is supported almost universally.
The final version of the bill divided American religious groups morally opposed to same-sex marriage; it was supported by some as a suitable compromise between the rights of LGBT couples and religious liberty, a position that was taken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was prominently opposed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention due to their views on sexual ethics. Religious groups that supported the bill in support of their LGBT parishioners include the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Reformed Church in America, the United Church of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Vice presidential campaigns
Prior to the Supreme Court's 1967 ruling in Loving, anti-miscegenation laws were still in force in 16 states, all prohibiting interracial marriage. Until 1996, the federal government of the United States customarily recognized marriages conducted legally in any state for the purpose of federal legislation. Following an unsuccessful lawsuit aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii, the United States Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, one section of which forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court ruled this section unconstitutional in the 2013 case United States v. Windsor.
In June 2022, the Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the Constitution does not confer the right to an abortion, overturning the 50-year-old precedent of Roe v. Wade. Writing for the majority, Samuel Alito stated that fears that the same arguments that overturned Roe might also touch upon "matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage" were "unfounded". However, in a concurring opinion, Clarence Thomas argued that the Court should go further in future cases, reconsidering other past Supreme Court decisions that granted rights based on substantive due process, such as Griswold v. Connecticut (the right to contraception), Obergefell v. Hodges (the right to same-sex marriage), and Lawrence v. Texas (the right to engage in private sexual acts).
In response, in July 2022 the House passed bills aimed to protect rights that Thomas had mentioned, with the Respect for Marriage Act specifically ensuring that the right to same-sex and interracial marriages would remain part of federal statue law even if the Court ruled at some future date that they were not constitutionally guaranteed.
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA barred the federal government from respecting the marriages of same-sex couples who were married under state law, which excluded them from federal recognition, such as with Social Security benefits, tax benefits, and more. DOMA established that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution does not require states to respect the marriages of same-sex couples performed by other states. RFMA repealed that part of DOMA as well, and replaced it with the assertion that the clause requires interstate recognition. The Supreme Court case United States v Windsor (2013) struck down this section of DOMA, but after Dobbs’ overturning of Roe, some worry that Windsor will be overturned.
H.R.8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, as signed into law by President Joe Biden on December 13, 2022, reads:
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the "Respect for Marriage Act".
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.
(2) Diverse beliefs about the role of gender in marriage are held by reasonable and sincere people based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. Therefore, Congress affirms that such people and their diverse beliefs are due proper respect.
(3) Millions of people, including interracial and same-sex couples, have entered into marriages and have enjoyed the rights and privileges associated with marriage. Couples joining in marriage deserve to have the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection that marriage affords to families and children.
SEC. 3. REPEAL OF SECTION ADDED TO TITLE 28, UNITED STATES CODE, BY SECTION 2 OF THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT.
Section 1738C of title 28, United States Code, is repealed.
SEC. 4. FULL FAITH AND CREDIT GIVEN TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY.
Chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is further amended by inserting after section 1738B the following:
§ 1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof
(a) In General.—No person acting under color of State law may deny—
(1) full faith and credit to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State pertaining to a marriage between 2 individuals, on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals; or
(2) a right or claim arising from such a marriage on the basis that such marriage would not be recognized under the law of that State on the basis of the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.
(b) Enforcement By Attorney General.—The Attorney General may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against any person who violates subsection (a) for declaratory and injunctive relief.
(c) Private Right Of Action.—Any person who is harmed by a violation of subsection (a) may bring a civil action in the appropriate United States district court against the person who violated such subsection for declaratory and injunctive relief.
(d) State Defined.—In this section, the term "State" has the meaning given such term under section 7 of title 1.
SEC. 5. MARRIAGE RECOGNITION.
Section 7 of title 1, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
§ 7. Marriage
(a) For the purposes of any Federal law, rule, or regulation in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is between 2 individuals and is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.
(b) In this section, the term "State" means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.
(c) For purposes of subsection (a), in determining whether a marriage is valid in a State or the place where entered into, if outside of any State, only the law of the jurisdiction applicable at the time the marriage was entered into may be considered.
SEC. 6. NO IMPACT ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND CONSCIENCE.
(a) In General.—Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to diminish or abrogate a religious liberty or conscience protection otherwise available to an individual or organization under the Constitution of the United States or Federal law.
(b) Goods Or Services.—Consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution, nonprofit religious organizations, including churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, mission organizations, faith-based social agencies, religious educational institutions, and nonprofit entities whose principal purpose is the study, practice, or advancement of religion, and any employee of such an organization, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any refusal under this subsection to provide such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action.
SEC. 7. STATUTORY PROHIBITION.
(a) No Impact On Status And Benefits Not Arising From A Marriage.—Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to deny or alter any benefit, status, or right of an otherwise eligible entity or person which does not arise from a marriage, including tax-exempt status, tax treatment, educational funding, or a grant, contract, agreement, guarantee, loan, scholarship, license, certification, accreditation, claim, or defense.
(b) No Federal Recognition Of Polygamous Marriages.—Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to require or authorize Federal recognition of marriages between more than 2 individuals.
SEC. 8. SEVERABILITY.
If any provision of this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, or the application of such provision to any person, entity, government, or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or any amendment made thereby, or the application of such provision to all other persons, entities, governments, or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.
In addition to requiring all states to recognize interracial or same-sex marriages performed in another domestic or foreign jurisdiction, it also requires all territories and possessions of the United States to recognize marriages performed elsewhere. Prior to enactment of the Act, American Samoa was the only U.S. territory which neither performed nor recognized same-sex marriages, even if performed legally in another jurisdiction of the United States or elsewhere. It does not apply to federally-recognized Native American nations, which are free to determine their own policy on performance and recognition. As of December 2022, the Choctaw Nation is reviewing their marriage law for conflict with the Respect for Marriage Act.
In addition to repealing DOMA, the legislation would establish a method for the federal government to determine whether a marriage is valid for federal purposes, a legal dilemma known as choice of laws. Anticipating that federal courts and administrators would need to determine the validity for federal purposes of a marriage that is recognized in one state and not another, or in a foreign country and not by every U.S. state, it creates two tests. If celebrated in a state of the U.S. (with "state" interpreted to include territories and the District of Columbia), a marriage is valid for federal purposes if valid in that state. If celebrated elsewhere, a marriage is valid for federal purposes if it is valid in at least one U.S. state.
Legal scholars disputed whether the language of the Respect for Marriage Act was an appropriate solution to the problem. Lynn Wardle wrote that it "is substantively biased to circumvent state policies that do not allow or recognize same-sex marriage" and "a violation of federalism". William Baude endorsed the language of the Respect for Marriage Act. He argued that the options are to give priority to the place a marriage is celebrated or to the domicile of the married couple, that one's domicile is more easily manipulated, and that basing the choice of law on the place of celebration "promotes predictability and stability".
Law scholar Ilya Somin writes that the provision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states is more likely to have constitutionality issues in the court system than the provisions that apply to the definition of marriage used in federal law; he also notes that the Act contains a severability provision in case one part of the Act is found unconstitutional.
Further information: Defense of Marriage Act § Repeal proposals
The 2009 bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York on September 15, 2009, and garnered 120 cosponsors.
The 2011 bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York on March 16, 2011, and a U.S. Senate version was introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California on the same day. President Barack Obama announced his support for the bill on July 19, 2011.
In September 2011, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida became the 125th cosponsor of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Republican member of the U.S. Congress to announce support for the bill. In December 2012, Richard Hanna and Charles Bass became the next Republicans to cosponsor the bill.
On July 20, 2011, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont chaired the first-ever congressional hearing on a proposal to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). On October 25, 2011, Leahy announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee would begin debate on November 3, 2011, with a committee vote likely to happen the following week. On November 3, 2011, the bill was debated in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where its passage was a foregone conclusion due to sufficient votes to pass being found in the 10 Democratic members of the committee, who are cosponsors of the bill; however, Republicans on the Committee requested the vote be delayed one week. During the debate Sen. Feinstein noted that DOMA denies same-sex couples more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits that are provided to all other members of that class, legally married couples, including rights to Social Security spousal benefits, protection from estate taxes when a spouse passes away, and the ability to file taxes jointly and claim certain deductions. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10–8 in favor of advancing the bill to the Senate floor.
The bill's sponsors decided not to reintroduce the Respect for Marriage Act in 2013 until the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in United States v. Windsor. They reintroduced it on June 26, the same day the Court ruled in that case that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
The aforementioned lawmakers Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California reintroduced the legislation on the first day of the 114th Congress. Nadler remarked, "We must finish the job begun by the Supreme Court". In terms of co-sponsors, the proposal soon accrued 77 co-sponsors in the House and 41 in the Senate. The news received a warm welcome from LGBT rights groups such as the American Military Partner Association, which stated that Congressional action had to take place in order to assist same-sex military couples seeking veterans benefits.
Section 2 of DOMA, the last substantive provision of that act remaining viable after United States v. Windsor, was rendered obsolete in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015.
The Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization in June 2022 overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In his concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas postulated that the court should revisit other past cases which granted rights based on substantive due process, including the right of same-sex marriages from Obergefell, leading to concerns from lawmakers.
In July 2022, the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announced the re-introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was revised to include protections for interracial marriages to codify Loving v. Virginia. The Act passed the House (267–157) on July 19, 2022, with 47 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in the affirmative.
The Senate initially planned to vote on the bill before the 2022 midterm elections. However, because it was unclear whether it would receive enough votes to end debate, the consideration of the bill was delayed by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. On November 14, 2022, a group of bipartisan senators, including Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) announced they had reached an amendment compromise to include language for religious protections and clarify that the bill did not legalize polygamous marriage. The amendment specifies that nonprofit religious organizations will not be required to provide services for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Shortly after, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he would bring the modified bill to the Senate floor.
On November 16, 2022, the Senate invoked cloture on the motion to proceed (62–37) to the amended bill. All 50 Democratic senators and 12 Republicans (Roy Blunt, Richard Burr, Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, Joni Ernst, Cynthia Lummis, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Mitt Romney, Dan Sullivan, Thom Tillis, and Todd Young) voted in favor of advancing the bill.
On November 29, 2022, the Senate voted 61–36 to pass the bill. Voting in favor of the bill were 49 Democrats and the same 12 Republicans who had voted to advance it. Two Republicans (Ben Sasse and Patrick Toomey) and one Democrat (Raphael Warnock, who co-sponsored the bill) did not vote.
On December 8, 2022, the House passed (258–169–1) the Senate's version of the Act, with 39 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting in the affirmative.
On December 13, 2022, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law in a ceremony that was held on the White House lawn. Pelosi, Schumer, Harris, and Biden all spoke at the event, which also featured performances by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C, as well as musicians Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper. Gina Nortonsmith and Heidi Nortonsmith, the lesbian couple who was one of seven same-sex couples who sued the state of Massachusetts for same-sex marriage rights in the 2001 Goodridge v. Department of Public Health case, were among those who spoke at the event as well.
As of December 13, 2022:
|Congress||Short title||Bill number(s)||Date introduced||Sponsor(s)||# of cosponsors||Latest status|
|111th Congress||Respect for Marriage Act of 2009||H.R. 3567||September 15, 2009||Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY)||120||Referred to the House Judiciary Committee|
Referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
|112th Congress||Respect for Marriage Act of 2011||S. 598||March 16, 2011||Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–CA)||32||Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee; sent to Senate floor.|
|H.R. 1116||March 16, 2011||Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY)||160||Referred to the House Judiciary Committee|
|113th Congress||Respect for Marriage Act||S. 1236||June 26, 2013||Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–CA)||45||Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee|
|H.R. 2523||June 26, 2013||Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY)||183||Referred to the House Judiciary Committee|
|114th Congress||Respect for Marriage Act||S. 29||January 6, 2015||Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–CA)||44||Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee|
|H.R. 197||January 6, 2015||Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY)||152||Referred to the House Judiciary Committee|
|117th Congress||Respect for Marriage Act||H.R. 8404||July 18, 2022||Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D–NY)||189||Passed the House of Representatives (267–157)|
Passed the Senate with amendment (61–36)
House agreed to the Senate amendment (258–169–1)
Signed into law by President Joe Biden
|S. 4556||July 19, 2022||Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–CA)||43||Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee|
Main article: Public opinion of same-sex marriage in the United States
A September 2022 Grinnell College National Poll found that 74% of Americans believe same-sex marriage should be a guaranteed right while 13% disagreed and 13% were uncertain.
Gallup found that nationwide public support for marriage equality for same-sex couples reached 50% in May 2011, 60% in May 2015, and 70% in May 2021.
The Pew Research Center found 40% in 2010, 50% in 2013, and 61% in 2019. By 2016, 83% of Americans aged 18–29 supported same-sex marriage. In 2018, 60% of Americans said they would not mind if their child married someone of the same gender.
Annual polling conducted by Gallup each May in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 has found support for same-sex marriage stable, with two-thirds of Americans indicating that same-sex marriage should be recognized as valid under law (a range of 63% to 67% was recorded). In 2020, 67% of respondents stated that same-sex marriage should be legally recognized as valid under the law.
As of 2021, there is majority support for same-sex marriage in 47 states, ranging from 50% in South Carolina to 85% in Massachusetts. There is plurality support in Alabama, with 49% supporting and 47% opposing. Only Mississippi and Arkansas have majority opposition to same-sex marriage; in Mississippi, 55% oppose and 44% support, while in Arkansas, 52% oppose and 47% support same-sex marriage.
Main article: Interracial marriage in the United States § Public opinion
Gallup found that nationwide public support for interracial marriage rose from around 4% in 1958, more than 50% in 1994, to 94% in 2021.
Interracial marriage features prominently in the Respect for Marriage Act. Interracial marriage was first legalized through the landmark supreme court case Loving v Virginia in 1967. In Loving v Virginia, the Warren court established that the laws prohibiting interracial marriage were in violation of the Equal protection and Due process clauses of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution. According to Gallup polls of United States public opinion, approval for interracial marriage has increased from 4% in 1958 to 94% in 2021 and the highest approval rating of 98% is from Americans between the ages of 18-29.
The issue of interracial marriage was not raised in the original Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that would lead to the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. The new language of the Respect of Marriage act requires states to approve and acknowledge out-of-state marriage licenses issued to interracial couples.
Despite overwhelming public support for interracial marriage, the June 2022 overturn of Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey raised additional concerns that interracial marriage was being threatened by the supreme court. Loving v Virginia and the recently overturned Roe v Wade were decided under the due process clause of the 14th amendment and this is what many believe to be the cause to include interracial marriage as protected under the Respect for Marriage Act.
The Respect for Marriage Act reads as follows: “No Federal Recognition of Polygamous Marriages.--Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to require or authorize Federal recognition of marriages between more than 2 individuals.” This section of the bill comes from a bipartisan amendment to the act. In a press release on November 14, 2022, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Kyrsten Sinema, and Thom Tillis discussed how this amendment would protect American religious liberties while maintaining the goal of marriage equality.
A recent Gallup poll shows that public support for polygamy is trending upward. As of 2020, 20% of U.S. citizens viewed polygamy as morally acceptable, tripling since 2003. Pew Research Center found that even though 1 in 5 Americans support polygamy, it is very rare within the United States, with less than .05% of American households living polygamously. Polygamy is only a common occurrence around sub Saharan Africa, in countries such as Mali and Senegal, averaging about 11%.
Utah updated their criminal code on May 4, 2022, to decriminalize polygamy. Utah reduced the crime of bigamy from a felony to an infraction as long as it is between consenting adults. If force, threats, or abuse are involved, it maintains its felony status.
Justice Roberts of The Supreme Court of the United States recently discussed polygamy in his dissent in Obergefell vs. Hodges, stating that “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage” 
The Respect for Marriage Act passed with a vote of 258 Yeas -169 Nays (1 present and 4 not voting  on December 8, 2022, and was signed into law by President Biden on December 13, 2023. A total of 39 Republicans joined all 219 Democrats in voting to pass the bill. Thus, the bill is considered to be a bipartisan vote - the most pro-LGBTQ vote in Congressional history.
The main vocalized objection to Republican opposition to the bill is its possible implications of limits to religious freedom. Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart was quoted on his opinion of the bill: “My record shows that I am a long-standing advocate against discrimination of all types. I, however, cannot support any effort that undermines religious liberties by failing to provide legitimate safeguards for Faith-Based organizations that object based on their deeply-held religious beliefs.” Representative Díaz-Balart voted in opposition of the bill. Florida Republican, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar joined Díaz-Balart in opposition. She stated “I voted for the first version of the bill because I believe in human dignity and respect for all individuals. However, we cannot pass laws that advance one interest and bypass long-held legal protections for others”
In order, the for bill to have been successful as a bipartisan vote, the final bill included an amendment to ease some Republicans’ concerns about impacts to religious liberty. Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher voted in support of the bill following the revisions but opposed previous version of the bill with concerns it would allow for polygamy. “It is far better for Congress to pass legislation that protects religious organizations and provides stability to the millions of people in a same-sex marriage than to rely on federal judges to make these decisions” - Representative Gallagher 
President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law on December 13, 2022, and the President and Vice President Harris gave their opinion of the Act in a speech prior to signing the bill. The speeches from Vice President Harris and President Biden highlighted other parts of the history of same-sex marriage, such as the movement against Proposition 8. The President also referenced Mildred and Richard Loving, and told the story of their Supreme Court case, as well as the case of Edie Windsor. The President also mentioned specific members of the Senate, namely Senator Tammy Baldwin, Susan Collins, Chuck Schumer, Senator Portman, Senator Sinema, Senator Tillis, Senator Feinstein, and Senator Booker, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as well as Jerry Nadler. 
The final version of the bill divided American religious groups opposed to same-sex marriage. It was supported by some as a suitable compromise between the rights of LGBT couples and religious liberty, a position that was taken by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was prominently opposed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention due to their views on sexuality.
On November 15, 2022, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement regarding the RFMA, calling a bill that included "religious freedom protections while ... preserving the rights of ... LGBTQ [people] ... the way forward", while stating that church doctrine would remain unchanged in not recognizing same-sex marriages. The Church has supported some legislation in the past that supported LGBT rights, as long as they also included protections for religious freedom.
On December 1, 2022, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that "This bill fails to include clear, comprehensive, and affirmative conscience protections for religious organizations and individuals who uphold the sanctity of traditional marriage that are needed."
Baptist Joint Committee leaders in support of the bill criticized opponents for stoking unreasonable fear, and erroneously arguing that civil rights for some, somehow means less religious rights for themselves. They noted the bill deals with civil marriage and has no impact on the institution of religious rites of marriage.
Other denominations supported the measure. It was supported by over 40 other faith organizations in a joint letter to the Senate, including the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Hindus for Human Rights, the Interfaith Alliance, Jewish Women International, Muslims for Progressive Values, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Sikh Coalition, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ. Most of those organizations who signed the letter allow for same-sex weddings in their facilities and affirm LGBT parishioners.
LGBTQ rights activists praised the Respect for Marriage Act for codifying into law some of the protections of Obergefell, but claim that the Act still falls short of everything that Obergefell protected. Activists and scholars highlight some important limitations of the bill, such as the Act not requiring nonprofit religious organizations “to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.” However, activists do acknowledge that the bipartisan support of the bill is noteworthy, and that it shows a significant change in public opinion that is reflected in the actions of government representatives.
Among U.S. faith leaders and denominations, there are sharp differences over the bill advancing in the Senate that would protect same-sex and interracial marriages in federal law ... On Tuesday, one of the most prominent conservative-leaning denominations – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – came out in favor of the legislation. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention remain opposed ...
Rather than just say no to RMA, a small collective of faith groups moved quickly in the Senate to see if the act could be brought into balance. A few senators from both parties who were keen on doing just that helped. After adding in a measure of religious liberty protections, the Senate substitute of the House bill passed the higher chamber earlier this week, 62–37. Churches, Christian colleges, K-12 religious schools, and faith-based social service providers can take comfort in these boundary lines. All in all, RMA is a modest but good day's work. It shows that religious liberty champions and LGBT advocates can work together for the common good. It says to the original House bill, 'If a bill is about us, it has to be with us.' And it shows that Congress can still legislate, not just be a gaggle of egos who go to Washington to perform but never fix.
Solid majorities across both parties agree that ... marrying someone of the same sex ...are rights that should be guaranteed to all citizens ...
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