The United States House of Representatives approved a measure on gay marriage rights on Tuesday, following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade jeopardized previous decisions that protected rights to same-sex relationships and contraception.
The law, which passed the Democratic-controlled House with 47 Republican votes, creates federal safeguards for homosexual marriage and forbids anybody from disputing the legality of a marriage based on the couple’s race or gender.
It will now be debated in the Senate, where it has uncertain prospects in the equally split chamber. House Republicans were urged by party leadership, who did not whip against the measure, to vote their conscience.
The measure was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler after the Supreme Court eliminated the federal right to abortion in its famous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
Justice Clarence Thomas said in a concurring opinion that the court should review previous judgements that provided access to contraception and the 2015 right to gay marriage since they relied on the same legal reasons as Roe.
Some Republicans in Congress have mirrored Thomas’ remarks. On Saturday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz claimed the Supreme Court was “clearly wrong” in creating a legal right to homosexual marriage.
Democrats have argued that in the event that the Supreme Court revisits its previous findings, Congress must establish the right to homosexual marriage in federal law.
“The rights and freedoms that we have come to cherish will vanish into a cloud of radical ideology and dubious legal reasoning,” Nadler warned in a statement on Monday.
States may still limit gay marriage under the House measure if the Supreme Court overturns its previous verdict. Such jurisdictions, however, would be forced to recognize weddings that took place in states where they are still lawful.
The House will vote on a measure to provide countrywide access to contraceptives on Thursday, another right that Thomas urged the court review.
Democrats hope the proposals will highlight a contrast to Republicans ahead of the Nov. 8 midterm elections, in which Democrats’ control in the House and Senate will be challenged by rising inflation.