Gary Palmer votes against the Respect for Marriage Act

Gary Palmer Official

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial Respect for Marriage Act. Congressman Gary Palmer voted against the measure. Palmer warned that this bill was “about forcibly imposing a new definition of marriage and silencing those who disagree.” The bill had already passed the U.S. Senate 61 to 36. It now goes to the desk of President Joe Biden where he has said that he will sign it.

“Marriage between a man and a woman is one of the self-evident truths that pre-exist the concept and institution of culture and government,” Palmer said in a statement emailed to Alabama Today. “Marriage is the fundamental building block of all cultures and civilizations. It is essential for family formation and for the bearing and raising of children. Attempts to redefine marriage through the deceptively titled ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ will not change what marriage is by nature nor its importance to the future well-being of our nation.”

“This bill is not about the freedom of individuals to live and love as they choose but about forcibly imposing a new definition of marriage and silencing those who disagree, particularly people of faith,” Palmer stated. “This bill jeopardizes religious liberty for people of all faiths who do not support redefining marriage and will only accelerate discrimination against individuals, businesses, and organizations who refuse to promote same-sex unions. For these reasons, I opposed passage of this bill.”

The legislation was passed in a 258-169-1 vote. Thirty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the measure. By passing the bill into law before Republicans take control of the House next month, it means that this law will be in effect in the states even if the controversial Supreme Court ruling – Obergefell versus Hodges – making gay marriage legal across the nation is eventually overturned by the Court.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who vociferously opposed Obergefell v. Hodges when it passed, had recently publicly floated the idea of overturning the controversial decision.

Following the bill’s passage in the Senate, Biden said he would “promptly and proudly” sign it into law.

The bill gives federal protections to same-sex couples, requiring that the federal government and all states recognize marriages if the pair were wed in a state where the union was legal. It also cements protections for interracial couples, ordering states to recognize marriages regardless of “the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of those individuals.”

The bill also repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The House had passed an earlier version of the Respect for Marriage Act 267 to 157 vote in July.  That earlier version of the bill was altered in the Senate after Republicans expressed concerns that it lacked religious freedom protections.

Gary Palmer was recently re-elected to his fifth term representing Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

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