Providing for Consideration of H.R. Respect for Marriage Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 7, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Pennsylvania for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I will yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to speak on the bill included within this rule, Senate amendment to H.R. 3404, the Respect for Marriage Act.

Mr. Speaker, as you well know, this bill previously came before the House. Unfortunately, at the time, the legislation was a byproduct of a very truncated process, having received no committee markup and being parachuted from the Speaker's office straight to the floor.

In response to the rushed House process, the Senate actually undertook a more comprehensive amendment process on the floor, giving Senators the opportunity to amend the legislation, something we did not have the opportunity to do. I am encouraged that the amended version from the Senate has tried to address some of the religious liberty concerns that myself and other Members have highlighted.

Even though I can report that this bill is much improved from its original form, there are still problems with this legislation and its possible implications for religious institutions and matters of conscience.

It is regrettable that certain amendments that would safeguard religious liberty, such as Senator Lee's and Congressman Roy's amendments prohibiting the government from removing a nonprofit organization's tax-exempt status based on religious beliefs, those were all blocked.

Had those additional amendments received a fair hearing and as a result been adopted, we could have made significant progress toward addressing the very serious and legitimate concerns about the consequences of this legislation and its potential curtailment of a fundamental American right.

Today's bill, while a better product than before, should have been better, and it is regrettable that we are at this point and this is the case.

Mr. Speaker, I urge opposition to the rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, if I could, I would inquire as to whether or not the gentlewoman has additional speakers.


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I have no additional speakers, if the gentlewoman is prepared to close.

In closing, I would note that today's rule is, in fact, the product of a very rushed legislative process. The bill should have been subject to regular order so that it could be improved to address religious liberty concerns noted by my fellow Members.

The very fact that we have had this discussion here on the floor to me indicates that there is some ambiguity. I thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Roy) and Chairman Sessions for coming and raising the argument.

Section 6 of this bill provides protection of religious liberty, but only if you are religious enough. If you are a church, you are protected. If you are an individual or a school, you may not be, and you may be subject to that private right of action.

What we are voting on today is emblematic of how this one-party Democratic rule has been enforced in Washington, D.C., over the past 2 years. I am discouraged to see the majority is still focused on passing partisan messaging bills which will not address the problems they purportedly claim to want to solve.

This week, we are considering partisan bills instead of focusing our efforts on things like funding the Federal Government, maybe even the authorization for the Nation's defense, one of the requirements under the Constitution that we fulfill.

Unfortunately, tonight, this is a continuation of a discouraging and regrettable trend that I hope will be revisited by a new Congress.

Mr. Speaker, I urge a ``no'' vote on the rule, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 217, nays 204, not voting 10, as follows: [Roll No. 512] YEAS--217 Adams Aguilar Allred Auchincloss Axne Barragan Bass Beatty Bera Beyer Bishop (GA) Blumenauer Blunt Rochester Bonamici Bourdeaux Bowman Boyle, Brendan F. Brown (MD) Brown (OH) Brownley Bush Bustos Butterfield Carbajal Cardenas Carson Carter (LA) Cartwright Case Casten Castor (FL) Castro (TX) Cherfilus-McCormick Chu Cicilline Clark (MA) Clarke (NY) Cleaver Clyburn Cohen Connolly Cooper Correa Costa Courtney Craig Crow Cuellar Davids (KS) Davis, Danny K. Dean DeFazio DeGette DeLauro DelBene Demings DeSaulnier Dingell Doggett Doyle, Michael F. Escobar Eshoo Espaillat Evans Fletcher Foster Frankel, Lois Gallego Garamendi Garcia (IL) Garcia (TX) Golden Gomez Gonzalez, Vicente Gottheimer Green, Al (TX) Grijalva Harder (CA) Hayes Higgins (NY) Himes Horsford Houlahan Hoyer Huffman Jackson Lee Jacobs (CA) Jayapal Jeffries Johnson (GA) Johnson (TX) Jones Kahele Kaptur Keating Kelly (IL) Khanna Kildee Kilmer Kim (NJ) Kind Kirkpatrick Krishnamoorthi Kuster Lamb Langevin Larsen (WA) Larson (CT) Lawrence Lawson (FL) Lee (CA) Lee (NV) Leger Fernandez Levin (CA) Levin (MI) Lieu Lofgren Lowenthal Luria Lynch Malinowski Maloney, Carolyn B. Maloney, Sean Manning Matsui McBath McCollum McGovern McNerney Meeks Meng Mfume Moore (WI) Morelle Moulton Mrvan Murphy (FL) Nadler Napolitano Neal Neguse Newman Norcross O'Halleran Ocasio-Cortez Omar Pallone Panetta Pappas Pascrell Payne Peltola Perlmutter Peters Phillips Pingree Pocan Porter Pressley Price (NC) Quigley Raskin Rice (NY) Ross Roybal-Allard Ruiz Ruppersberger Rush Ryan (NY) Sanchez Sarbanes Scanlon Schakowsky Schiff Schneider Schrader Schrier Scott (VA) Scott, David Sewell Sherman Sherrill Sires Slotkin Smith (WA) Soto Spanberger Speier Stansbury Stanton Stevens Strickland Suozzi Swalwell Takano Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Titus Tlaib Tonko Torres (CA) Torres (NY) Trahan Trone Underwood Vargas Veasey Velazquez Wasserman Schultz Waters Watson Coleman Welch Wexton Wild Williams (GA) Wilson (FL) Yarmuth NAYS--204 Aderholt Allen Amodei Armstrong Arrington Babin Bacon Baird Balderson Banks Barr Bentz Bice (OK) Biggs Bilirakis Bishop (NC) Boebert Bost Brady Brooks Buchanan Bucshon Budd Burchett Burgess Calvert Cammack Carey Carl Carter (GA) Carter (TX) Cawthorn Chabot Cline Cloud Clyde Cole Comer Conway Crawford Crenshaw Curtis Davidson Davis, Rodney DesJarlais Diaz-Balart Duncan Dunn Ellzey Emmer Estes Fallon Feenstra Ferguson Finstad Fischbach Fitzgerald Fitzpatrick Fleischmann Flood Flores Foxx Franklin, C. Scott Fulcher Gaetz Gallagher Garbarino Garcia (CA) Gibbs Gimenez Gohmert Gonzales, Tony Gonzalez (OH) Good (VA) Gooden (TX) Gosar Granger Graves (LA) Graves (MO) Green (TN) Greene (GA) Griffith Grothman Guest Guthrie Harris Harshbarger Hartzler Hern Herrell Herrera Beutler Hice (GA) Higgins (LA) Hill Hinson Hollingsworth Hudson Huizenga Issa Jackson Jacobs (NY) Johnson (LA) Johnson (OH) Johnson (SD) Jordan Joyce (OH) Joyce (PA) Katko Keller Kelly (MS) Kelly (PA) Kim (CA) Kustoff LaHood LaMalfa Lamborn Latta LaTurner Lesko Letlow Long Loudermilk Lucas Luetkemeyer Mace Malliotakis Mann Massie Mast McCarthy McCaul McClain McClintock McKinley Meijer Meuser Miller (IL) Miller (WV) Miller-Meeks Moolenaar Mooney Moore (AL) Moore (UT) Mullin Nehls Newhouse Norman Obernolte Owens Palazzo Palmer Pence Perry Pfluger Posey Reschenthaler Rodgers (WA) Rogers (AL) Rogers (KY) Rose Rosendale Rouzer Roy Salazar Scalise Schweikert Scott, Austin Sempolinski Sessions Simpson Smith (MO) Smith (NE) Smith (NJ) Smucker Spartz Stauber Steel Stefanik Steil Steube Stewart Taylor Tenney Thompson (PA) Tiffany Timmons Turner Upton Valadao Van Drew Van Duyne Wagner Walberg Waltz Weber (TX) Webster (FL) Wenstrup Westerman Williams (TX) Wilson (SC) Wittman Womack Yakym Zeldin NOT VOTING--10 Bergman Buck Cheney Donalds Kinzinger McHenry Murphy (NC) Rice (SC) Rutherford Ryan (OH)

So the resolution was agreed to.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Stated against: