Johnson votes “no” on marriage equality bill

December 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved a marriage equality bill Thursday that would ensure same-sex and interracial couples continue holding many of the rights they have now, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the cases that established those constitutional protections.

The measure now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden, who plans to sign it.

The 258-169-1 vote included the backing of 39 Republicans, though many GOP lawmakers argued during debate there was no reason to pass the legislation since the justices have not agreed to take up any cases that would end legal marriages for interracial or same-sex couples. South Dakota’s lone U.S. representative, Republican Dusty Johnson (pictured), voted against the bill, as did South Dakota’s two U.S. senators when the bill passed the Senate earlier.

Democrats countered the legislation is essential to assure Americans that should the conservative-leaning court take up such a case in the future, as it did with abortion rights, same-sex and interracial marriages will still be recognized federally.

They also said religious liberty protections added in the Senate should assuage concerns about potential impacts on people and organizations.

“I’m standing here today because in the year 2022, families like mine are once again concerned that an activist out-of-step Supreme Court is going to take those rights away,” Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig said during floor debate.

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan argued that his marriage to his husband, Phil, shouldn’t be any different from any other marriages when it comes to taxes, visiting a spouse in the hospital, Social Security benefits, or retirement.