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PELOSI’S POWER: House Speaker secures legendary vote for marriage equality

PELOSI’S POWER: House Speaker secures legendary vote for marriage equality

PELOSI'S POWER: House Speaker secures legendary vote for marriage equality

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Longtime Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is going out on a high note after signing the Respect for Marriage Act as her last important work as the leader of the Democratic Party.

Before handing over the reins to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Pelosi oversaw the 258-169 bipartisan vote, passing legislation that will see the unions of millions of interracial and LGBTQ married couples federally protected.

Madame Speaker was visibly emotional when slamming the leadership gavel for one of the last times.

“The motion has passed,” she said smiling.

Watch the video below.

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Saying at a press conference after the important win, that the vote is “history in the making,” Pelosi added, “Not only are we on the right side of history, but the right side of the future.”

The RFMA, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign, repeals 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as between “one man and one woman.”

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The DOMA failed to protect the marriages of same-sex couples when traveling to other states – meaning they didn’t have to be respected or recognized.

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In an official statement after the Senate passed the bill in November, the House leader wrote, “The Respect for Marriage Act will uphold marriage equality under federal law – tearing the bigoted, unconstitutional ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ off the books for good.”

“My heart is full,” Rep. Pelosi tweeted. “The Respect for Marriage Act will soon be the law of the land: a glorious triumph for love and freedom.”

Two landmark civil rights decisions, 1967’s Loving v. Virginia which constitutionally protected the right of an interracial couple to marry, and 2015’s Obergefell v. Texas, were feared to be in jeopardy after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued his opinion in the wake of the nation’s highest court’s decision to overturn 1973’s Roe v. Wade, another landmark decision based on the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

“Clarence Thomas explicitly called on the Court to reconsider the right to marriage equality handed down in its Obergefell decision,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Once signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act will prevent right-wing extremists from uprooting legal precedent, tearing away fundamental freedoms, and upending the lives of families across the country,” the release continued.

Representing California’s 12th district, Pelosi has served for 35 years in the House of Representatives.

Previously serving as Speaker from 2007 and 2011, the congresswoman from California returned to the helm in 2019, after Democrats regained the legislative body’s majority.

While the RFMA requires state and federal level governments to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages, it doesn’t mandate that churches or organizations opposed must.

According to The Hill, “Millions of people, including interracial and same-sex couples, have entered into marriages and have enjoyed the rights and privileges associated with marriage, [and] deserve to have the dignity, stability, and ongoing protection that marriage affords to families and children,” the RFMA draft reads.

Speaker Pelosi has been a pioneer since first stepping onto the House floor. As a woman, and Democrat. Seeing the party’s caucus grow to nearly 100 women – including a record number of women of color.

The battle for marriage equality was not an easy one, with a majority of House Republicans voting against protecting the rights of millions in this country to be married to who they love, but Pelosi got it done, adding to the Democrats’ growing list of important legislation passed before the lame duck session of Congress ends – and proving once again that only one party cares about progress and moving the country in a forward direction.

While the GOP seeks to turn back the hands of time, Madame Speaker is doing her best to prevent it.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

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Ty Ross
News journalist for Occupy Democrats.

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