Republicans help pass House gay marriage bill
In the US House of Representatives, dozens of Republicans have teamed up with Democrats to pass a bill that would strengthen legal safeguards for same-sex weddings.
Republicans have called the idea a gimmick and criticised it, but Democrats have suggested that the US Supreme Court may overturn the right to gay marriage.
The United States Supreme Court granted nationwide approval for same-sex unions in 2015.
The long-standing constitutional right to an abortion was, however, revoked this month.
Given the narrow margins in the Senate, it seems less probable that the Respect for Marriage Act will pass.
By a vote of 267-157 on Tuesday, 47 Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the proposal after Republican leaders let party members vote according to their conscience.
More than three-quarters of House Republicans opposed the bill on a topic that has long served as a yardstick for social conservatives’ dedication to political chastity.
Critics claimed that the vote was a Democratic trap to bring Republicans into the public limelight as the November midterm elections drew near.
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise did not vote in favour, while Republican House Representative Elise Stefanik did.
Rep. Liz Cheney also voted in favour, even though her earlier opposition to same-sex unions had harmed her connection with her LGBT sister.
The law would also provide legal protection for inter-racial unions.
The 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a constitutional right to abortion, was overturned by the conservative Supreme Court majority in June, prompting Democrats to introduce the effort.
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas said that previous rulings on topics like same-sex marriage and contraception should be reevaluated in his concurring opinion last month.
Tuesday’s roll call showed how far the US has come on the formerly intensely contentious issue of gay marriage, just 14 years after Democrat Barack Obama ran for president and argued that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.
A June Gallup poll found that support for same-sex partnerships is on the rise, with 70% of American adults in favour of such unions.