Opposites Attract

A deal expected to pass the Senate today on same-sex marriage proves compromise is possible even in today’s partisan Washington environment. 

The passage of the Respect for Marriage Act will be the most significant progress for LGBTQ Americans on the Hill since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

When the Supreme Court overturned a constitutional right to an abortion, Justice Clarence Thomas raised alarms in the LGBTQ community by suggesting the Court should also reconsider the right to gay marriage. 

If the court’s landmark 2015 decision is overruled, it leaves the still-on-the-books Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting same-sex marriage as the law of the nation, upending families across the country.

That’s why Congress is moving the Respect for Marriage Act, which will protect the legality of same-sex marriages. A bipartisan group of senators and coalitions have been working diligently behind the scenes to find agreement on language that would bring along Republican votes.

The crux of the deal? Making sure the new law wouldn’t take any current rights away from religious institutions and acknowledging explicitly that diverse beliefs about marriage and the people who hold them are due respect.

Religious groups including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the National Association of Evangelicals, among others, have publicly endorsed the amended version of the legislation. 

The pen isn’t dry quite yet – the amended bill will have to return to the House for a vote, where it’s expected to quickly pass. 

The lesson, though, is clear: through respectful dialogue among diverse stakeholders, creating and passing bipartisan legislation is absolutely possible.