The Respect For Marriage Act: Another Legislative Farce

By: The LGBTQIA+ Commission of the American Party of Labor.

Since the overturning of the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in June of 2022, the reactionary Supreme Court has made it known that they are interested in reviewing and most likely reversing progressive victories of the past. This includes the landmark victory in June of 2015 from Obergefell v. Hodges which legalized same-sex marriage. In response to both the looming threat faced by many marginalized communities and to possible regressive attacks coming their way from the Supreme Court, liberal politicians and the Democratic Party have begun to use these fears to rally support around themselves and create half-hearted attempts to protect these communities in the name of publicity. The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) that was recently passed in the Senate is one of these half-hearted reforms that offers too little for the LGBTQIA+ community.

One of several failures of the RFMA is that it does not prohibit individual states within the US from banning the right to marriage for LGBTQIA+ people in the event that Obergefell v. Hodges is overturned by the Supreme Court, at a time when 71% of Americans support same-sex marriage. It is worth noting that the RFMA does keep states from nullifying already issued same-sex marriages and interracial marriages. Further, it forces states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages held in other states going forward, in the event of the repeal of the relevant court cases. 

We in the LGBTQIA+ Commission of the American Party of Labor find it especially frightening that not only are queer rights coming under attack once again, but that even interracial marriages could be under attack, as the Supreme Court has hinted at “reviewing” Loving v. Virginia. This is sickening. In the leaked brief by the Supreme Court, they said the following: Nor does the right to obtain an abortion have a sound basis in precedent. Casey relied on cases involving the right to marry a person of a different race, Loving v. Virginia … Respondents and the Solicitor General also rely on post-Casey decisions like Lawrence v. Texas (right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts) [this would enable currently unconstitutional sodomy laws to be enforced against straight and LGBTQIA+ people], and Obergefell v. Hodges (right to marry a person of the same sex) … None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history.” At the same time, a recent Gallup poll shows that 94% of the US population supports the institution and practice of interracial marriage. 

The fact that the Supreme Court is now planning to attack social conventions that are overwhelmingly popular among the American population brings us to an objective fact: the Supreme Court is NOT a democratic institution and is not answerable to the oppressed masses who constitute the majority of the country. Consequently, there can be no genuine democracy in the United States under capitalism. The problem of throwing these liberties to the State Legislatures, even with the popular support established above, is that a mere 46.97% of eligible voters – not including disenfranchised and ineligible Americans – voted in the 2021-22 state legislative elections, and the arch-reactionary Republicans dominated 54.7% of all legislative seats in the states. 45% of Americans say the Supreme Court has too much power, 43% of Americans say they have hardly any confidence in the Supreme Court, and 67% of Americans support term limits for Supreme Court Justices.

Knowing this, it becomes evident that liberal reformism, a reformism that is so intrinsically tied to capitalist relations, is unable to guarantee the preservation of any democratic right won through the struggles of the working class and its allies. It is the responsibility of all progressive and revolutionary minded organizations and peoples to struggle for the continued existence of the established democratic rights already won (e.g., same-sex marriage, interracial marriage) through the bourgeois-democratic system, such as supporting term limits for Supreme Court Justices. However, this battle cannot end with another liberal reform of capitalist institutions. Revolutionary organizations must also struggle to create a new society, a socialist society, in which these democratic rights can be ever protected and guaranteed without fear of reversal and dismantlement. Only through a socialist society can the working class and all its members find total security, power, and safety over their own lives and be free from ruling class instruments of oppression like the Supreme Court of the United States. As such, we call for the abolition of the Supreme Court as a bourgeois mechanism that defends the capitalist system and enforces its tyrannical cannibalistic nature. 


Categories: Discrimination, Government, LGBTQIA+, U.S. News

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