The inaccurately named Respect for Marriage Act is currently making its way through the Senate. However, there are some questions about whether or not the bill is Constitutional. On Sunday, Just the News posted an article listing some of those concerns.
The article reports:
The bill, HR 8404, was introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, on July 18 and passed by a vote of 267-157 the next day. The U.S. Senate took it up on Nov. 14.
It would provide “statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages” and repeal several provisions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The 1996 law received bipartisan support including from then U.S. Sen. Joe Biden and U.S. Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and from Democratic President Bill Clinton, who signed it.
When a constitutional amendment was proposed to ban same-sex marriage in 2006, Sen. Biden told Meet the Press’ Tim Russert, “I can’t believe the American people can’t see through this. We already have a law, the Defense of Marriage Act … where I voted and others … that marriage is between a man and a woman and states must respect that. … Why do we need a constitutional amendment? Marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Sixteen years later, President Biden now supports replacing DOMA provisions, which “define, for purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex,” with ROMA provisions “that recognize any marriage that is valid under state law,” according to the bill summary.
The article notes:
After their vote, Biden said, “Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” adding their vote made “the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law.”
Schumer also said he had “zero doubt” the bill “will soon be law of the land.”
But multiple groups disagree, arguing it’s unconstitutional for the same reasons the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. Because the court already ruled Congress doesn’t have the constitutional authority to define marriage under Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, and because ROMA is nearly identical to DOMA, they argue it will also likely be struck down.
In a letter to Congress, the nonprofit religious freedom organization Liberty Counsel argues the court ruled in Windsor, “DOMA, because of its reach and extent, departs from this history and tradition of reliance on state law to define marriage.” It also ruled, “[b]y history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage . . . has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.”
It is entirely possible that the way to solve this dilemma is to totally remove government from the institution of marriage. Leave marriage with the church–churches should have the right to marry or not to marry anyone they want to. A couple can find a church to do their wedding without having to worry about the government getting involved. A church certificate would be enough to prove the wedding, and the government would not need to be involved. In the case of a divorce, the church certificate would prove the marriage. Let the churches go on record for what they support and what they don’t support.