Utah members of House vote to protect same-sex marriage under law

Posted at 5:28 PM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 00:25:52-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — All four of Utah’s representatives to the U.S. House voted for legislation today that would protect same-sex marriage under the law.

The "Respect for Marriage Act” ultimately passed in a 267 to 157 bipartisan vote and comes as lawmakers anticipate the Supreme Court overturning its 2015 ruling.

“I'm getting married in two months to my partner of four and a half years," said Kevin Randall, a spokesperson for the Utah Pride Center. "When we learned that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and in there was a little sentence saying that marriage equality could be including question and debate, it was heartbreaking.”

Some Utahns, like Gayle Ruzicka, the president of Utah's Eagle Forum, don’t think the federal government should be passing laws that have to do with marriage.

“Regardless of what people, what their personal opinion is about marriage and same-sex marriage, if couples, same-sex couples, should be allowed to get married, that they should let the state handle," she said.

In a statement, Rep. John Curtis said:

"The majority opinion of the supreme court clearly stated that the court has no intention of reversing any decisions respecting the right to marriage in the constitution. That said, I also understand how important codifying these protections are to many Utahns. I do not believe the federal government should infringe upon an individual’s decision about who they wish to marry."

“That is really good to hear, that members of the legislature support marriage equality," said Randall. "Honestly, this debate needs to be over by now. LGBTQ+ people have fought for decades and decades for this.”

In addition to protecting the right to same-sex marriage, the bill also gives federal protections for interracial marriages.

The respect for marriage act now heads to the U.S. Senate, where its future is uncertain; the law would require at least 10 Republican votes, and so far, the same-sex marriage protections only have one GOP supporter.

“We should leave it where it belongs," said Ruzicka. "And I hope that when this gets over to the Senate, there's common sense there, they will leave it where it belongs.”