The passage of the Respect For Marriage act today by the House and its scheduled signing into law tomorrow by President Biden is cause for celebration. Thanks for all the Democrats in the Senate and twelve Republicans (those with a modicum of common sense or having LGBTQ friends and family), it passed the Senate and went back to the House for today's proforma vote.
The nationalist right-wing Christians that have the majority on the Supreme Court over-reached based on their religious beliefs, ignoring what the majority of Americans believe about personal rights and life in a pluralistic society. So now, in direct response, there is a law that makes same-sex and inter-racial marriage legal and repeals the previous Don't Say-Don't Tell law.
That said, it ain't over.
The religious right absolutely believes the right to same sex marriage along with the legalization of same sex relationships needs to be overturned and outlawed, and they won't give up. Consider how long and hard they fought to overturn abortion rights, with no concern about the damage the culture wars they fomented would inflict on American society.
The word of caution, though, about this bill and its limitations is well worthy understanding. Dorian Rhea Debussy, a public policy scholar with a focus on LGBTQ+ issues from The Ohio State University, has written a brief and clear piece on what is not in the bill and what risks still exist for LGBTQ people. These are the three key limitations she describes:
One key issue is that anti-LGBTQ+ laws in conservative states could undercut the Respect for Marriage Act. The act also provides an exemption for religious nonprofits. And finally, it does not fix a long-lasting problem that penalizes the marriages of people with disabilities regardless of their sexuality.
You can read Dorian Debussy's piece on The Conversation here.