Congresswoman Scanlon Votes to Enshrine Marriage Equality Under Federal Law

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) today voted to send the Respect for Marriage Act to President Biden’s desk. The landmark legislation takes several key steps to defend marriage equality: officially repealing the bigoted and unconstitutional “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), upholding couples’ right to equal protection under federal law, and requiring states to recognize valid out-of-state marriages. Rep. Scanlon also led the floor debate on the rule ahead of the House’s vote. 


“The federal government should never stand in the way of Pennsylvanians’ right to marry the person they love,” said Rep. Scanlon. “But the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs set our country on a perilous path by opening the door to reconsider and overturn fundamental American freedoms - including marriage equality, a basic liberty that the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians support. Today I proudly voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act to ensure long-term stability and important statutory protections for all marriages, regardless of race or sexual orientation. This is a historic step to protect LGBTQ+ equality – and serves notice that hate and bigotry have no place in America.”


The Respect for Marriage Act will take several steps to protect the inviolability of same-sex and interracial marriages:

  • Repealing the “Defense of Marriage Act” once and for all: While the Supreme Court effectively voided DOMA, the unconstitutional and discriminatory federal law still remains on the books. 

  • Enshrining Marriage Equality In Federal Law: This legislation will uphold married couples’ right to equal protection in all areas covered under federal law, such as Social Security, tax filings, and veterans’ benefits.

  • Barring discrimination by state officials: This legislation prohibits state officials from denying recognition of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.


The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the ACLU, Center for American Progress, Equality Federation, Family Equality, Freedom for All Americans, GLAD, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG.

Find the full text of the Respect for Marriage Act here.  

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