Capito, Manchin vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — The U.S. Senate today voted 61-36 in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, a landmark bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. West Virginia’s two Senators, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin, both voted in favor of the bill.

Fairness West Virginia joined a coalition of 43 other state-based organizations to thank the senators for passing this bill and to call for continued action to protect LGBTQ people in this country. A copy of that letter can be found online here.

Andrew Schneider, executive director of Fairness West Virginia, also released the following statement after the bill’s passage:

“This bill is an important step forward to ensuring that all families are equally protected under the law. Thank you, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin, for supporting marriage freedom.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided a case in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. The bill Congress passed today enshrines this freedom into federal law. It also repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, an anti-family law still on the books that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. Researchers estimate that two million children are being raised by LGBTQ families. It would be morally reprehensible and a logistical nightmare to tear those families apart. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about losing one of their parents, and this bill ensures they won’t.

And let’s be clear — the vast majority of Americans support marriage freedom. Over the summer, Gallup released new polling that shows 71 percent of Americans — and 55 percent of Republicans — support marriage freedom.

A year before the Supreme Court’s landmark decision, only 37 percent of West Virginians supported same-sex marriage. This support steadily increased over the years, and now 56 percent of West Virginians support it. If you do the math, that works out to more than 300,000 new supporters in our state.

As West Virginians, we believe that all families are valuable and deserve protection. I’m grateful that our Senators made that clear today.”

The Respect for Marriage Act is simple – it would:

— Repeal DOMA and get this anti-marriage federal law off the books.

— Ensure that the federal government respects all marriages equally for federal law purposes, and require that an individual be considered married if the couple’s marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.

— Prohibit any state government or 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 individuals in the marriage.

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Please direct questions and interview requests to Jack Jarvis, Communications Director, at jack@fairnesswv.org.

Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians. Our mission is to ensure LGBTQ people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community.