Today, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) voted in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act. This bipartisan legislation is a compromise that provides permanent certainty for same-sex couples while ensuring robust protections for churches and religious organizations – protections that are more robust and expansive than what currently exists under federal law.
“I proudly voted in July to codify these all-important protections,”said Rep. Stewart. “And today I was proud to once again vote in favor of protecting our LGBTQ and religious friends and neighbors. As a man of faith and a conservative, ensuring the religious liberties of people in Utah is absolutely essential. This bill not only guarantees that protection, but simultaneously expands the rights of those in the LGBTQ community.
“The alternative to this bipartisan solution – the Equality Act – is hostile to religious liberty and would exact a heavy toll on religious Americans. Additionally, same-sex marriage is already legal in the United States, and the Respect for Marriage Act did not change that. It simply expands current religious freedoms and LGBTQ civil rights.
“Civil rights are not a finite resource; we do not have to take from one group to give to another. The intent of our forefathers in the Constitution was to strike a balance that protects fundamental religious beliefs with individual liberties. I believe this bipartisan legislation effectively does just that.”
The Respect for Marriage Act is a narrow but important bill that would do three primary things:
First, it would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
Second, the bill 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, but the bill would not require a State to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.
Third, it affirms proper respect for reasonable and sincere people with beliefs based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises.