WASHINGTON, D.C.— Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a vice-chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, today celebrated the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. This bipartisan bill repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, protects marriage equality for federal purposes, and provides additional protections at the state level. The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed in the Senate last week by a 61-36 vote, now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“Today was a historic day in Washington. A decade ago, bipartisan support for marriage equality would have been unfathomable. But today, in the face of brazen and continued threats to Americans’ civil liberties from a deeply polarizing and bigoted Supreme Court, my Congressional colleagues and I — from both sides of the aisle — took action to ensure that everyone, regardless of their race or sexual orientation, has the right to marry the person they love,” said Pingree. “I proudly cast my vote today for the Respect for Marriage Act so that same-sex and interracial couples in Maine don’t have to live in fear that a future Supreme Court decision could invalidate their marriages. With passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, Congress has sent a clear message: love wins.”

The Respect for Marriage Act would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed and would guarantee that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. The bill would not require a state to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.

The Respect for Marriage Act will take several steps to protect the inviolability of same-sex and interracial marriages:

Repealing the “Defense of Marriage Act”: While the Supreme Court has effectively voided DOMA, this unconstitutional and discriminatory federal law still remains on the books. The Respect for Marriage Act will repeal this statute once and for all.

Enshrining Marriage Equality into Federal Law: This legislation will uphold married couples’ right to equal protection in all areas covered under federal law, such as Social Security, tax filings and veterans’ benefits.

Barring Discrimination by State Officials: This legislation prohibits state officials from denying recognition of an out-of-state marriage on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

Previously passed by the House earlier this year, the Respect for Marriage Act was amended and advanced by the Senate last week. With today’s vote in the House, the final bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.

The Respect for Marriage Act is strongly supported by leading advocacy organizations, including the ACLU; Center for American Progress; Equality Federation; Family Equality; Freedom for All Americans; GLAD; Human Rights Campaign; Lambda Legal; National Black Justice Coalition; National Center for Lesbian Rights; National Women’s Law Center and PFLAG.

Maine First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree Chellie Pingree is the U.S. representative for Maine’s 1st congressional district. A member of the Democratic Party, her district includes most of the southern part of the state, including Portland and Augusta.