Sunday, February 25

Marriage between people of the same sex, about to be included in the US legislation


The text has, more than anything else, a symbolic meaning, because in practice the regulation of unions in the US does not change.

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer speaks about the Senate vote.JIM LO SCALZOEFE

Marriage unions between persons of the same sex are about to be approved by law in USA after the Senate of that country approved last night, with the vote against 36 Republican legislators, the Law of Respect for Marriage, a legal text that recognizes the equality of unions regardless of the sex of the contracting parties. The votes in favor were 61, that is, just one more than necessary to prevent the proposal from being blocked in the Senate. The Law now remains for the House of Representatives, in which the vote will presumably repeat the guidelines of the Senate: the entirety of the Democratic majority will support it, and the Republican opposition will be divided between those for and against.

The Law of Respect for Marriage has, more than anything else, a symbolic Meaning, because in practice the regulation of unions in the US does not change, where states can, theoretically, refuse to issue marriage licenses to people of the same sex, although in reality that does not happen anywhere. The norm is, to a large extent, a consequence of the decision of the US Supreme Court to allow states to prohibit abortion last June.

The author of the sentence, the judge Clarence Thomas, He wrote when justifying his decision that the reconsideration of other Supreme Court rulings remained open for the future, among them those that legalized sexual relations between people of the same sex (in 2003), the contraceptive use (in 1965), and the equality of marriage unions between people of the same sex (from 2015). It is notable that Thomas never wanted to review the Supreme Court ruling of 1967 that legalized (heterosexual) marriage between people of different races, although the fact that he is black and his wife is white perhaps it could have something to do with the jurisprudence of the magistrate.

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With a conservative-controlled Supreme Court like Thomas, the Democratic Party, who champions the cause of gender equality, feared that the Court could follow the same path in the field of marriage as in that of abortion. After all, in the US abortion was legalized throughout the country by a Supreme Court ruling in 1973, but there had never been a consensus to approve a law that would cement that practice. Putting same-sex marriage into law also doesn’t make it unchangeable if the Supreme Court decides it’s unconstitutional, but it does make it significantly more difficult.

The new legislation will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996 by a Republican-majority Congress during the Democratic presidency. Bill Clinton, which established that marriages could only be between a man and a woman. On that occasion, the legal text was sanctioned with a vote in favor of the Republican majority and the division of the Democratic opposition, that is, exactly the opposite of what has happened in the Respect for Marriage Law. The Defense of Marriage Law had already been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme in 2015, although it has not been officially repealed. The text also recognizes religious freedom, preventing religious institutions such as Churches from being forced to celebrate same-sex weddings.

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