What the ruling to codify same-sex marriage means

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The U.S. House recently voted to codify same-sex marriage after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas suggested to revisit the ruling.

Arizona Horizon spoke with Stefanie Lindquist from the ASU School of Global Politics and Sandra day O’Connor College of Law to find out what this could mean for the future.

What’s happening?

As a way to protect the right to same-sex marriage, the U.S. House codified the law. In other words, it is a way for the House to protect the law should the Supreme Court overrule the original precedent.

“What Congress is doing is essentially protecting or codifying that right in a sense in federal law.”

The two-pronged approach

As a way to codify same-sex marriages, Congress is enacting legislation dubbed “The Respect for Marriage Act”. This will be done via two different pieces.

-First, by repealing the Defensive Marriage Act passed in 1996, which stopped same-sex marriages to be recognized by the federal government.

-Second, by requiring states that ban same-sex marriages to recognize those marriages if done in a different state.

“It does not force states to recognize same-sex marriage but it requires them to recognize that marriage as legal if it was performed in a different state.”

Toppling precedents

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the decision to further overturn former precedents like the right to privacy, the right to contraception, the right to same-sex marriages, could become reality should the Supreme Court follows Justice Thomas’s perspective.

“If the Supreme Court ultimately adopts that perspective across all the justices, then we might see some of these precedents toppled. And then those rights will solely depend on state laws.”

Stefanie Lindquist from the ASU School of Global Politics and Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

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