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As Congress advances the Respect for Marriage Act, Oklahoma LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups are applauding the step to protect marriage equality. The move by Congress is an effort to thwart any possible interference by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Following SCOTUS’ May 2022 ruling that abortion is no longer protected across the country, many are concerned that marriage equality is next on the chopping block. Marriage equality has been legal since 2015, with the SCOTUS ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. 

The Respect for Marriage Act would codify it – with a few exceptions. If SCOTUS overturns the precedent and returns marriage equality to individual states, marriage equality would be recognized as long as the ceremony was conducted in states where it remained legal. 

Meanwhile, the Respect for Marriage Act has bipartisan support in the Senate. 12 Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to advance the legislation to the House for a final vote before it goes to President Joe Biden’s desk. 

Oklahoma LGBTQIA+ advocacy group praises vote on marriage equality

Freedom Oklahoma, a local LGBTQIA+ advocacy agency, joined 40 other organizations in supporting the move toward protecting marriage equality. An open letter from all the Respect for Marriage Act supporters noted the move will promote and maintain equality. 

The letter reads: “This legislation is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of the freedom to marry. LGBTQ+ families deserve stability and respect under the law in their families and all areas of their daily life. We are glad to see the national debate on marriage as settled.”

According to a 2022 Gallup poll, over 70% of Americans support marriage equality. This is a huge jump from 25 years ago, in which less than a quarter of citizens supported LGBTQIA+ marriage. 

Now all that remains before marriage equality is legal is the bill passing in the House. Given the bipartisan support in the Senate, the House is likely to follow suit. 

Meanwhile, it’s not the only legislation that LGBTQIA+ advocacy agencies want to see passed. Following the recent massacre at a LGBTQIA+ club, advocates are fighting for as many legal protections as possible. 

According to the letter, “Ensuring LGBTQ+ people are covered by federal law is a top policy priority and an urgent need facing our community so that we can count on consistent protections wherever we live, work, and play. We can celebrate today’s step forward, but we are far from the finish line.” 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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