Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally protects same-sex and interracial couples' right to marry.
In addition to protecting marriage equality at the federal level, this legislation provides for additional state-level protections and repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. The House initially passed the Respect for Marriage Act earlier this year, and the Senate amended and passed it in November. Following the House's vote today, the bill heads to President Biden's desk.
Congresswoman Watson Coleman issued the following statement on the bill's passage:
"It has been a long journey since I helped pass marriage equality legislation during my time in the New Jersey State Assembly. At the time, then-Governor Christie vetoed the bill.
"I am in awe of how far our nation has come in just ten short years. For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed legislation preserving and protecting the right to marry the person you love. Love is a human right, and today, we have made it clear that the United States will protect that right.
"Although the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in 2015, the need for this legislation could not be more urgent. In the years since that decision, the Court has become an increasingly extreme conservative body. Since their decision to erase 50 years of progress and overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court and Republican elected officials have expressed openness to reversing the Court's ruling on same-sex marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act preemptively protects same-sex and interracial marriage, shielding them from right-wing threats.
"I was thrilled to vote for this bill in July and just as thrilled to vote for it again today. I look forward to seeing President Biden sign this historic civil rights legislation into law."