The US House gave Thursday the approval final to a bill that will federally protect same-sex marriages, and generally any marriage that has been legally performed in a state of the country. 258 of the 435 members of the House voted for it. The Senate had already approved the law in November: now only the signature of President Joe Biden is missing, which however is considered a formality, since the proposal was supported by his party (the Democrats).
In the United States, same-sex marriages are already de facto legal across the country, following a 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made all laws banning them unconstitutional in individual states. However, the new law will serve to force the federal government to recognize any marriage that has been legally celebrated in the United States: in short, it is a sort of “legal cover”, designed in the event that the Supreme Court has to make decisions that overturn the 2015 ruling.
This law appeared necessary above all after the sentence with which the Supreme Court last June had eliminated the right to abortion at the federal level, restoring the possibility of legislating on the matter to each state. The June decision had shown the fragility of the rights guaranteed only through a sentence of the Supreme Court and without a specific law behind it. There are an estimated 568,000 same-sex married couples in the United States.
The outcome of the vote was rather obvious, given that the House had already approved the law in July with a similar text, and given that until 2023 the Democrats will have the majority. Then they will lose it due to the outcome of the midterm elections. Although it was proposed by the Democrats, the law also received the support of some Republicans: in the Senate the vote of 12 of them had been decisive to reach the necessary relative majority of 60 out of 100.