Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Christopher Vasquez (he/him) | NCLR Director of Communications
415-365-1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congress took a historic step toward legislatively protecting marriage equality in federal law for the first time in a bipartisan vote of 61-36, with 12 Republican Senators joining every Democratic Senator in voting aye on the legislation. This summer the House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act with a strong bipartisan majority of 267 members – including 47 Republicans – reflecting the will of the more than  71% of Americans who support the freedom to marry.

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon on the Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act: 

“Today’s bipartisan vote in the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act is a proud moment for our country and an affirmation that, notwithstanding our differences, we share a profound commitment to the principle of equality and justice for all. As we have seen time and time again, Americans from all walks of life support the right of individuals to marry the person they love, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or race. For the first time in our collective history, Congress has taken a concrete step to protect marriage equality in federal law. 

Since our founding 45 years ago,” continued Rupert-Gordon, “NCLR has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of LGBTQ individuals to create relationships and families, and we will continue to do so following the passage of this historic legislation. While Congress has taken an important step toward codifying marriage equality in federal law, it is incumbent on all of us to continue to push for passage of the comprehensive Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ individuals and our families from discrimination in all aspects of our everyday lives. Today we celebrate this win, tomorrow we continue to fight for the justice and equity that every American deserves.”

In 2008, NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter was lead counsel for several same-sex couples in the landmark California marriage equality case. In 2014, NCLR won a  lawsuit that allowed the first same-sex couples to marry in Miami-Dade County, FL. NCLR went on to litigate marriage equality cases in Alabama, Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. In 2015, NCLR’s Tennessee case was part of the historic U.S. Supreme Court victory that established marriage equality nationwide as part of Obergefell v. Hodges.

NCLR has played a leading role in advocating for the passage of the Equality Act, including serving as a member of the Freedom and Opportunity for All coalition (along with 16 other partner organizations) urging passage of the legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, public accommodations (things like restaurants, hotels, and theaters), and jury service.


The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding 45 years ago, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the most underrepresented in the LGBTQ community. www.nclrights.org