A majority of Catholics in the US House of Representatives voted last Thursday to pass the “Respect for Marriage Act” which will redefine marriage under US law. The Act was signed into law by Catholic US president Joe Biden yesterday.
According to data published by US-based Catholic lobby group CatholicVote, out of the 130 Catholics in the House, 89 voted to redefine marriage, while only 40 Catholics held fast to their beliefs and voted no. (One member, Rep. Kevin Brady, a Catholic Republican from Texas, did not vote.)
The “Respect for Marriage Act” repeals the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) and “requires the U.S. federal government to recognise the validity of same-sex and interracial marriages in the United States, and protects religious liberty”, according to the US government.
There are 130 Catholics serving in the House of Representatives, of which 74 are Democrats and 56 are Republicans. All Democrats voted in favour of the act along with 15 Republicans (27 per cent).
“In the House, 89 Catholics (74 Democrats and 15 Republicans) voted to redefine marriage and expose our religious organisations to a flood of lawsuits,” said Joshua Mercer, director of programming at CatholicVote.
The lobby group Catholic Vote has strongly opposed the legislation from the outset, warning members of Congress that it would result in terrible consequences for the religious freedom of Catholic individuals and institutions.
The claim that the Act “protects religious liberty” does not take into account the fact that Catholics believe that the only valid marriage is between a man and a woman.
“The act purports to defend same-sex and interracial marriages, yet neither institution is under attack, and the act adds zero new protections for same-sex marriages that the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges didn’t already provide,” wrote CatholicVote President Brian Burch for Newsweek shortly before the House vote.
“The legislation’s real effect, in addition to repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, will be to expose people of faith to a host of potential lawsuits from left-wing activists seeking to silence their voices. That seems to be the point.”Catholics in US Senate vote to redefine marriage and put Catholics at risk – Catholic Herald