Rep. Mark Pocan

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to defend same-sex marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act. It removes the prohibition on same-sex marriage set forth in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, stipulating that any individual’s marriage is federally recognized if it’s legal in that person’s state.

Same-sex marriages in Wisconsin have been legally recognized since October 2014, when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a ruling that had found Wisconsin’s amendment banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

Republicans who opposed the measure called it unnecessary, while Democrats argued marriage equality is now under legal threat.

“Because the extremist packed Supreme Court recently took away a half a century of law on Roe, and in that decision Justice Clarence Thomas said they should revisit it on marriage equality,” said Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan during floor debate. “We have people in this House and in the Senate like Senator Ted Cruz who’ve said the exact same thing.”

“I want to make sure that my husband Phil can visit me in the hospital should I have to go back again like when I had a triple bypass a few years ago,” Pocan said. “I want to make sure my husband has my earned benefits for retirement and Social Security. I want to make sure that my husband is taken care of just like your spouses are taken care of.”

Rep. Bryan Steil

Representative Bryan Stiel of Janesville was among 47 Republicans voting for the bill, which passed 267-157. It now moves to the U.S. Senate. In a tweet, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin urged colleagues to support it.

“If you are a Senator who supports marriage equality then you will support our bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act to protect this freedom and right for same-sex and interracial marriages. Let’s stand together and protect the progress we have made.”


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