The House of Representatives voted on Tuesday, July 19, a law to protect same-sex marriage throughout the United States, for fear of a reversal of the Supreme Court in the matter. The bill received the support of 267 elected officials, i.e. all the Democrats supported by 47 Republicans, during a vote greeted by applause in the hemicycle. 157 Republicans, on the other hand, opposed it.

His chances of succeeding in the Senate seem more limited since ten elected Republicans would have to vote with the Democrats. Only Senator Susan Collins has so far said she is ready to do so. Its inclusion on the agenda therefore seems to have the objective of forcing the Republicans to take a position on this subject which divides their electorate.

A large majority of Americans support same-sex marriage (71%), including in the Republican ranks. But the religious right remains mostly opposed to it. Whatever their position on the “Respect for Marriage Act”, the Republicans therefore risk finding themselves at odds with part of their voters before the midterm ballot in November.

Protecting yourself from retrograde Supreme Court decisions

Specifically, the law repeals previous legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and prohibits civil registrars, regardless of the state in which they work, from discriminating against couples “on the basis of their sex. , race, ethnicity or origin”. It therefore applies to people of the same sex, whose unions have been guaranteed since 2015 by the Supreme Court of the United States, but also to interracial couples, whom the high court has protected since 1967.

But the High Court has just made a historic U-turn on the right to abortion, by annulling, on June 24, the Roe v. Wade who had guaranteed since 1973 the right of American women to have an abortion in the name of “respect for private life”.

In an argument accompanying this decision, the conservative judge Clarence Thomas had estimated that the right to same-sex marriage or contraception, also based on respect for private life, should in turn be revised.

Since then, progressive elected members of Congress have multiplied bills. “We cannot sit idly by while the hard-won gains of the equality movement are systematically rolled back,” said Democratic lawmaker Jerry Nadler. Two texts to protect access to abortion were therefore adopted last week in the House and another on the right to contraception must be voted on there this week. It is probable that they all stumble in the Senate.