Arizona

Arizona couples emboldened by passage of US Senate bill protecting same-sex interracial marriages

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – David Patterson has to smile every time he sees himself and his husband Kevin on the front page of the newspaper in 2014.

David and Kevin became the first same-sex couple in Arizona to marry after the US Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on marriage equality. “Just the joy and fulfillment we felt that day was something special. It solidified me and Kevin as a couple. It’s cemented us as a family,” Patterson said. “I know some people say it’s just paperwork, but for us it really was a gift.”

The Patterson family has made the best of their marriage, raised two daughters, and lives like any other Phoenix family. The couple said they have been concerned lately that the right to same-sex marriage could be challenged again if the conservative-leaning US Supreme Court decides to give states the power to ban same-sex marriages.

The bill does not include a national requirement that all states legalize same-sex marriage,...
The bill does not include a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage, but instead requires individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage.(Arizona family)

In a preemptive attempt to protect same-sex marriage, the US Senate on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation titled the Respect for Marriage Act, designed to protect same-sex and interracial marriages across the states. Jeanne Woodbury is interim director of Equality Arizona, and she said the Respect for Marriage Act would ensure all couples have equal legal rights. “Everyone said Roe vs Wade was the law of the country until suddenly it wasn’t,” Woodbury said. “Relying on courts for these basic freedoms is not enough: immigration status, health care, visitation and housing. Marriage equality does a lot to protect this for same-sex couples in a way that is already protected for straight couples.”

Patterson said passage of the Respect for Marriage Act will give his family some peace of mind and won’t take away from thousands of other same-sex couples who know their right to marry and remain married. At the same time, there is also a sense of sadness that this is still a contentious issue. “The idea of ​​Congress legislating this is kind of bittersweet,” Patterson said. “Why do we have to do this? Why is this something that is being attacked and politicizing my private life? To me, that is the opposite of what we as Americans hope for.”

The bill does not include a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage, but instead requires individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for a vote, with the Democratic Party still holding the majority.

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