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Press Release

In Response to GOP and U.S. Supreme Court Rollback of Rights, Rep. Castor Votes to Enshrine Marriage Equality into Law

Today, U.S. Representative Kathy Castor (FL14) and bipartisan House Members passed H.R. 8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, a critical step towards protecting marriage equality for same-sex and interracial marriages, on the House Floor. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — where he said he would like to revisit several cases, including the case establishing marriage equality as the law of the land — has left families across the Tampa Bay area and the nation worried about their future. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure long-term stability for these families by providing important statutory protections for their marriages.

“All of our neighbors deserve the right to marry who they love and live without fear that their lives will be upended through discrimination and a rollback of rights. Today, bipartisan members of the House voted decisively to protect same-sex and interracial marriages and ensure that they remain recognized under the law. I urge the Senate to pass our bill to protect families across the country from an extremist Supreme Court and radicalized GOP through rollbacks of landmark decisions like Obergefell v Hodges or Loving v Virginia. Marriage equality is the law of the land, and I will fight today and every day to ensure that remains a reality for Tampa families and our future generations,” said Rep. Kathy Castor.

The Respect for Marriage Act will:

    • Protect marriage equality for federal purposes by ensuring that for federal law purposes people are considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
    • Provide additional protections at the state level by prohibiting any person acting under color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out of state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of the people in the marriage.
    • Repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Although this law was rendered inert by the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decisions, it remains on the books. Enacting the Respect for Marriage Act would finally erase the discriminatory law from the U.S. code.

U.S. Rep. Castor has been a long-time champion of equal rights and diversity. As a Hillsborough County Commissioner in 2005, she was the sole vote against a resolution to ban Gay Pride observations in Hillsborough County, FL. She continued to work for its reversal as well as during her tenure in Congress and, in 2013, the ban was finally repealed.  During her time in Congress, she joined an amicus brief to support overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which was struck down in 2013. 

Before the Supreme Court of The United States decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, a landmark case for marriage equality nationwide, she hosted a wedding for a Tampa same-sex couple in her Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C., providing a haven to establish a lifelong bond. She cheered the U.S. Supreme Court on the steps of the court with hundreds of supporters at the historic moment the Obergefell decision was announced. She is a member of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus.