In a massive step for LGBTQ+ rights, the US House of Representatives voted in favour of codifying same-sex marriage. 

On Friday (24 June), the court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalised abortion nationwide.

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the Supreme Court wrote in a document.

Alongside the court’s dangerous decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Justice Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court should “reconsider” various landmark decisions such as the right to contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.

However, in response to Thomas’ archaic opinion, Democrats and 47 Republicans in the House voted in favour of the Respect for Marriage Act on 19 July.

The inclusive bill, which passed with a 267 to 157 vote, would effectively codify same-sex marriage and grant gay couples an array of federal protections. 

The legislation would also formally repeal the Defense of Marriage Act – which deemed marriage as a union between a man and a woman back in 1996.

During the debate on the House floor, Rep. Jerry Nadler said the aforementioned bill was created to “reaffirm that marriage equality is and must remain the law of the land”, as reported by ABC News. 

“Congress should provide additional reassurance that marriage equality is a matter of settled law,” Nadler said. 

“All married people who are building their lives together must know that the government will respect and recognise their marriages for all time.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed similar sentiments during her own floor remarks, stating: “This bill makes crystal clear that every couple and their children has the fundamental freedom to take pride in their marriage and have their marriage respected under the law.” 

With the bill officially passed in the House, it now heads to the Senate – which has a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans. 

Due to the current filibuster rules, 60 votes are required to pass the legislation – which makes the bill’s future uncertain. 

While the battle is far from over, LGBTQ+ activists and organisations have praised the House for passing the critical bill. 

One Twitter user wrote: “Did I just cry at the news that the House passed a bill moving to codify gay marriage into law? Yes. Am I still nervous about the Senate? Yes. But for now it is a much-needed sigh of relief.”

Human Rights Campaign Interim President Joni Madison also released a statement and pointed out the bill’s “strong bipartisan support”. 

“The fact that this bill passed with strong bipartisan support – earning the votes of 47 Republicans, proves that marriage equality is supported by a wide swath of the American people, and is not going anywhere,” she said.

“We strongly urge the Senate to follow the example set by their colleagues in the House and vote to pass this bill.”