Congress is considering codifying same-sex marriage after a long struggle over gay rights

The landmark Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutional in 2015. Now, Congress is poised to move forward with the Respecting Marriage Act to codify same-sex marriages with federal protections.

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A Precipitous Shift in Politics and Public Opinion Alike

hide caption This may interest you : Senate clears hurdle to move gay marriage bill toward final passage.

The landmark Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, ruled that same-sex marriage was constitutional in 2015. Now, Congress is poised to move forward with the Respecting Marriage Act to codify same-sex marriages with federal protections.

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A Brief History of Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.

Tanya McCloskey and Marcia Kadish exchanged vows at Cambridge City Hall on a summer morning in Boston, after spending 20 years together. See the article : Opinion | Let’s Call It Gay. May 17, 2004 was a momentous day, not only for them both, but for the United States; that day, they became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in this country.

At the time, same-sex marriage was a deeply divisive issue in the United States. Even high-profile Democrats like former President Barack Obama were hesitant to share their support for same-sex marriage — although Obama eventually became the first president to do so. Now it has become a somewhat unifying issue, even within a divided government.

This week, the Senate is set to move forward with the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) to codify same-sex and interracial marriages through federal protections. Dozens of Republicans voted in favor of the bill, including congressional leaders like Sen. Thom Tillis who had previously backed legislation defining marriage as between a man and a woman. “It both reflects and accelerates the profound transformation of hearts and minds, as well as law and politics, around the treatment of gay people,” said gay rights lawyer Evan Wolfson who founded the organization. Freedom to Marry. The legislation would repeal the Clinton-era Marriage Defense Act and require all states to recognize interracial and same-sex marriages.

In 2004, when McCloskey and Kadish married, the majority of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, with about 30% in favor. Today, polls show that more than 70% of the American population supports same-sex marriage, including 83% Democrats and 55% Republicans. Republicans as well as religious groups, including the Mormon Church. He says the GOP’s evolution on same-sex marriage reflects the changing opinion of the American public.

“Even conservatives, even Republicans have family members, colleagues, neighbors and people who are ready to open their hearts and change their minds.”

But, says Wolfson, supporting the protection of same-sex marriages is also politically strategic for Republicans. “Even though they are, in some sense, prisoners of their diminished but ever-present base, which holds extreme views disconnected from what the vast majority of Americans want, they cannot win with that base alone.” South Carolina Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, who voted for RMA in the House, reflected those sentiments when she said, “There are gay conservatives. And we just want to make sure they have a home.”

When same-sex marriage entered the forefront of mainstream American politics, conservatives often argued that it was a new idea, such as when Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito declared that same-sex marriage was an “institution newer than cellphones or the Internet” during oral arguments on California’s Proposition 8. But there isn’t exactly “a historical starting point for same-sex marriage any more than there is a historical starting point for marriage between men and women,” says Rachel Cleves, who is a professor of history at the University of Victoria and has studied same-sex relationships dating back as far as the 1800s.

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Enduring Anti-LGBTQ Sentiment and Legislation

“When conservatives argued that same-sex marriage was a new invention, [it was] a way to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States,” she says. See the article : For the only gay legislator in Alabama, political defeat was very personal.

Following the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the modern American gay rights movement gained momentum, with the emergence of leaders like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and made major political strides. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that efforts to legalize same-sex marriage began to appear across the country. Civil unions for same-sex couples existed in several states, often with “separate but equal” standards—same-sex couples were denied access to more than 1,000 federal rights that came with marriage for heterosexual couples. Then, in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was enacted, defining marriage as a shared agreement between a man and a woman.

In 2003, gay rights advocates celebrated a victory when the Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas and Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. Although federal politicians, including President George W. Bush, opposed same-sex marriage, states began to take matters into their own hands, rolling back bans and codifying same-sex marriage into state law.

About a decade later, Edith Windsor challenged the Defense of Marriage Act, and in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional, although the ruling was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. Two years later, in the landmark decision Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a constitutional right in the United States and required all 50 states to perform and recognize such unions. The ruling is widely considered the most significant same-sex marriage legislation in the United States and a turning point in the fight for gay rights.

Jim Obergefell and his compatriot Luke Barlowe hug as they leave the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015 after arguments on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

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  • hide caption
  • Jim Obergefell and his compatriot Luke Barlowe hug as they leave the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015 after arguments on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.
  • Despite growing public and political support for same-sex marriage, the path to legalized and equal marriage has not been easy.

“We have a popularized notion of the history of same-sex sexuality, which sees the past as undifferentiated, homophobic, and then there was a period of progress. But when you actually look at attitudes towards the same sexuality in the past, it doesn’t ‘look like a straight line at all,’ Cleves says.

What are the 3 parts of a wedding?

“We’ve just seen this extreme explosion of homophobia in the public sphere and in politics over the past year. And I think same-sex marriage is under serious threat, so I find this legislation critically important.”

What is the main part of a wedding called?

The drive to codify marriage rights with the Respect for Marriage Act follows the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, who ruled that access to abortion was not a constitutional right. Judge Clarence Thomas noted in his concurring opinion that the rationale used to strike down Roe v. Wade could be used to quash cases establishing other rights. This has led advocates to fear that same-sex and interracial marriage may be next.

What type of marriage does marriage under the Act support?

In 2021, state legislatures introduced a record number of anti-LGBTQ bills, especially those targeting trans youth. LGBTQ advocates and even lawmakers have linked this legislation to increases in hate crimes against LGBTQ people, including the fatal shooting at a queer Colorado nightclub last week.

When asked how he reconciles the passage of same-sex legislation by Congress with the way gay people are assaulted in most of the United States, Evan Wolfson replies: “Persuasion is not enough, even if it is an essential element. That’s why you also need political commitment,” to which he attributes much of the success of the same-sex marriage movement. For other LGBTQ rights to see similar success, he says political engagement must occur not only at the federal level but also in the states.

Do I have to report my marriage to the IRS?

Historian Rachel Cleves also sees the Respect for Marriage Act as a starting point for equal rights in America. “I hope political support for sexual and gender diversity will not stop at this stopgap measure to protect same-sex marriage, but will extend to protecting the rights of trans people, trans youth, affirmation and gender expression.

More on the Respect for Marriage Act It will also ensure that all state and federal governments recognize and respect a couple’s marriage, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or national origin. Read GLAD’s full statement on the House passage of the Respecting Marriage Act.

What happens if you don’t report you are married?

Four Elements of a Good Marriage

What benefits will I lose if I get married?


What is the marriage penalty for Social Security?


What happens if I don’t report my marriage to Social Security?


Does Social Security know if you are married?


Do I need to notify the IRS that I got married?

What are the four main types of marriage? Discover the different types of wedding ceremonies: civil, religious, military and homosexual.

Do I have to change my tax status when I get married?

“There is usually a welcome or introduction by the minister, followed by the exchange of vows. The couple then exchange rings, and after the couple share a kiss, the minister announces them for the first time as a couple. married,” says Miller.

Do I need to change my name with the IRS after marriage?

This part of the order of the wedding ceremony is also called the invocation. Once everyone has taken their place at the altar, the officiant will welcome everyone to the wedding ceremony and thank the guests for being present as witnesses.

Who do I need to notify when I get married?

The Marriage Act is the primary legislation that provides for the solemnization of marriage in Nigeria. The only form of marriage recognized in Nigeria under the law is monogamous marriage (marriage between a man and a woman).

What law says about marriage?


If you are legally married on December 31 of the tax year, the IRS considers you to be married throughout the year. Usually your only options are to file as a married filing jointly or as a married filing separately. Using the married couple’s separate filing status rarely reduces a couple’s tax bill.

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Can you get in trouble for single deposit if you are married? The quick answer to the question, can I file single if I’m married, is no. You cannot file single if you are married. There are a few exceptions to this rule, if you are widowed, legally separated from your spouse, or going through a divorce.

What rights do you have in a marriage?

If you fail to report a marital status change and receive SS benefits, you may be subject to a penalty and repay any overpayments. Or, you might miss additional payments that were owed to you.

What is a wife’s duty?

Marital Status and Dual Eligibility The SSA calls people who receive both SSDI and SSI (simultaneous benefits) “dual eligible.” If you are one of them, you should know that getting married can cause you to lose your SSI benefits.

What are the rights and obligations between husband and wife?

A: That is not true. When we talk about your own Social Security retirement benefits, there is no marriage penalty under Social Security law.

Why is marriage important legally?

Report changes in a timely manner If you do not report changes to us in a timely manner, you could be underpaid and not receive the amount due as quickly or be overpaid and have to reimburse us. The SSI program may apply a penalty that will reduce your benefits if you fail to report a change.

Is marriage beneficial legally?

Marriage has no impact on your Social Security retirement benefit, which is based on your work record and income history. You and your spouse, assuming he or she is also eligible for retirement benefits, each receive your own separate benefits, and the amounts do not otherwise limit or affect each other.

What are the legal implications of marriage?

Address. If the marriage means a change of address, the IRS and the US Postal Service need to know. To do this, people must submit IRS Form 8822, Change of Address. Taxpayers should also notify the Postal Service to forward their mail by going online to or their local post office.

Why do marriages need to be legal?

Because tax brackets are different for each filing status, your income may no longer be taxed at the same rate as when you were single. When you’re married and file a joint return, your income is combined, which, in turn, can push one or both of you into a higher tax bracket.