Washington, DC – Today a group of 150 mayors – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – sent a letter to Senate Leaders in support of H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill, which has already passed the House of Representatives, will be voted on soon in the Senate and would ensure same-sex and interracial couples have the same rights as other Americans. The United States Conference of Mayors has long been a champion of LGBTQ rights, and America’s mayors are not willing to see the progress made reversed. In the letter, mayors write in part:
“Quick passage of this legislation is a critical step to defending the right to marry for all our residents. America’s cities are the bastions of equality, opportunity, and progress. We cannot risk that couples in LGBTQ or interracial marriages could be denied the right to legal protections that other couples take for granted. America’s mayors will always push back against discrimination and uplift our core values of equality and fairness.”
The full text of the letter to Senators Schumer and McConnell can be found here and below:
On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors, we urge you to pass the bipartisan H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has supported policies advancing civil rights since the 1960s and LGBTQ rights since 1984, calls on you to protect this fundamental freedom to marry for all our residents.
The bill, if fully enacted, would ensure that marriage equality is protected as the law of the land. Following the recent decision by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and the signal sent that other rights, like the right to same-sex and interracial marriage, are potentially under attack, this legislation will provide certainty to all the families who are at risk.
In brief, H.R 8404 Respect for Marriage Act would:
- Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA inert with its landmark decisions in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell. The bill would repeal this statute once and for all.
- Enshrine Marriage Equality for Federal Law Purposes: The bill requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. This gives LGBTQ and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires.
- Provide Additional Legal Protections from Individuals Seeking to Undermine Marriage Equality While Acting Under State Law, including for Out-of-State Marriages: The bill prohibits any person acting under state law from denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity or national origin of the individuals in the marriage, provides the Attorney General with the authority to pursue enforcement actions, and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.
Quick passage of this legislation is a critical step to defending the right to marry for all our residents. America’s cities are the bastions of equality, opportunity, and progress. We cannot risk that couples in LGBTQ or interracial marriages could be denied the right to legal protections that other couples take for granted. America’s mayors will always push back against discrimination and uplift our core values of equality and fairness.
We urge you to bring this legislation to the floor and pass it before departing for the August district work period. By doing this, you will provide much needed stability and certainty to the many families who are dependent upon these protections that safeguard them and their families. America’s mayors are ready to work with the Senate to pass this law and others to ensure that Americans’ rights and freedoms are always protected.