At the end of October, members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution “expressing support for Supreme Court decisions affirming the constitutionally protected right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Because it’s been so easy for positive news to get lost in the shuffle of 2020, here’s a quick look at why this is important.
In short, simple resolutions like H.Res 1209 are measures (not laws) that express the collective sentiment or guiding thoughts of members of a chamber of Congress. By introducing this resolution, these members state that they, as legislators, recognize the long struggle of LGBTQ+ families to achieve equality in marriage, will continue to work toward protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and support the Supreme Court’s continued protection of same-sex marriages.
This measure, introduced on October 30th, closely followed a Supreme Court decision not to hear an appeal of the case involving former Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis -- who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015 -- and the subsequent publication of a dissenting screed by two conservative Justices, Alito and Thomas.
This screed, which we wrote about in October, spoke of religious freedom while threatening to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges if given the opportunity, which would overturn the protection of same-sex marriage. Understandably, the letter, from two prominent Supreme Court Justices, created a great deal of fear within LGBTQ+ communities and their allies.
The resolution also notes the U.S. Senate’s slow response to the HR 5 Equality Act, a bill which seeks to explicitly protect individuals from various types of sex discrimination at the federal level, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, by adding these to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. H.R. 5 was passed in the House but has not been acted on in the Senate (as S 788) since its introduction.
A Quote From H.Res 1209
This resolution demonstrates that these members of the House support the Supreme Court’s decisions to continue upholding the constitutionally granted protections for same-sex marriages.
They add that:
“Whereas, on May 17, 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act in a bipartisan vote; and
Whereas, on May 20, 2019, the Senate received the Equality Act for consideration and has not acted on the bill: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives-
(1) strongly opposes Justice Thomas and Justice Alito's Statement in Davis v. Ermold;
(2) acknowledges that same-sex couples have relied and are relying upon the Supreme Court precedent in United States v. Windsor, Obergefell v. Hodges, and Pavan v. Smith, and other cases upholding the protections of same-sex couples;
(3) recognizes that all Americans should be treated fairly and equally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity; and
(4) acknowledges the need for express legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people.”
H.Res 1209 was referred to the Judiciary Committee on Oct 30th, and has gained additional sponsors. Read the full text here.
Here at AMM, we believe that all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, have the right to marry. It’s why we do what we do. Our online ordination process removes the conventional barriers to ordination, eliminating mainstream churches as gatekeepers to this institution. We know that being able to choose who will solemnize their marriage helps couples celebrate their love their way, without discrimination, and we’re proud of all our ministers for honoring the love of those they marry.