US House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday evening in a preemptive move to codify same-sex and interracial marriages. Democratic lawmakers have said previously that the Supreme Court might roll back its same-sex marriages ruling after restricting abortion rights last month.
The legislation passed with an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, which is currently dominated by Democratic lawmakers. 47 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for the bill’s passage, pushing the tally up to 267-157.
What is the legislative process to codify the Respect for Marriage Act?
While the process of getting the Respect for Marriage Act will largely be the same, its fate may be different than most preemptive legislations from the Democrats as midterm elections loom.
After a legislation has been drafted, it is then introduced to the relevant committee in the US House of Representatives. For the Respect for Marriage Act, the draft went to the House Judiciary Committee. It then has to be approved by the entire House of Representatives, which currently has 435 voting members.
After it is cleared in the lower house, the bill is now sent to the US Senate for a vote. The upper chamber of Congress is currently split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, which gives way to a filibuster.
In case there is a 50-50 deadlock of the vote in the Senate, the US Vice President — who is also the Senate’s chair — is given the deciding vote. If a bill fails, it can be reworked and sent to the Senate again. It is necessary for any bill to pass both chambers without being changed to move to the next step.
After clearing the legislative passage, a bill will then be sent to the US President for approval. If approved and signed, the bill can then be called an “act” and is considered law of the land.