Utah’s US House members all vote in favor of codifying same-sex marriage in the United States

Rep. John Curtis said he believes the federal government should not “infringe upon an individual’s decision about who they wish to marry.”

All four of Utah’s congressional representatives voted in favor of codifying same-sex marriage in the United States.

Reps. Blake Moore, Chris Stewart, John Curtis and Burgess Owens voted Tuesday evening in favor of House Resolution 8404, known as the Respect for Marriage Act. The federal legislation passed the House with an overwhelming majority, 267-157, with 47 Republicans joining all House Democrats in favor of the bill.

If passed in the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, the resolution would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 federal law that defined marriage as the legal union of a man and woman. Since, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that parts of the DOMA are unconstitutional.

The timing of the resolution appears to be in response to last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the precedent set by Roe v. Wade that allowed for abortions around the country for nearly 50 years.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that the court should reconsider other landmark rulings, like those that allow for the rights to contraception and same-sex marriages.

In a statement Tuesday, Curtis said the majority of Supreme Court justices stated the court has no intention to reverse any decisions on the right to marriage.

“That said, I also understand how important codifying these protections are to many Utahns,” Curtis said in the statement. “I do not believe the federal government should infringe upon an individual’s decision about who they wish to marry.”

The Respect for Marriage Act will now head to the Senate, where its fate is less certain.

Sen. Mitt Romney told a Politico reporter Wednesday he believes the bill is unnecessary.

“I haven’t given consideration to that legislation, in part because the law isn’t changing and there’s no indication that it will,” Romney said, according to a tweet from Politico congressional bureau chief Burgess Everett.

The Beehive State first allowed same-sex marriage in December 2013 when Utah’s federal district court ruled the state’s ban was unconstitutional and was to be ended immediately. The decision led to hundreds of people rushing to their local clerk’s office for a marriage license. State Sen. Derek Kitchen, who recently lost his reelection bid, was among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Utah’s ban.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Derek Kitchen holds up the Marriage recognition Policy during a news conference discussing efforts to codify same-sex marriage in Utah law, at the Capitol, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.

A month later, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on the district court’s ruling, meaning new same-sex marriage licenses couldn’t be issued in the state until the appeals process worked through federal courts.

In October 2014, the Supreme Court ultimately ended the stay, allowing same-sex marriages in Utah. The next year, in the case Obergefel v. Hodges, the court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all states.