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House to vote on same-sex marriage, abortion rights, contraceptive coverage over SCOTUS concerns

The Democratic majority in Congress is planning a series of votes this week on several key judiciary items, including a vote to legalize abortion access, keep same-sex marriage legal, and secure contraceptive services.

The votes are seen as a direct response to a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court voting to overturn Roe v. Wade — which recognized constitutionally protected abortion rights — in its decision in Hobbs vs. Jackson Health Center, which returned the legality of abortion to the states.

“As this Court may take aim at other fundamental rights, we cannot sit idly by,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, in a statement announcing the votes.

The votes are also seen as a response to Justice Clarence Thomas, who brought the legality of same-sex marriage into question in his concurring opinion in the Hobbs case.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR A SUPREME COURT EVER-MORE DIVIDED

Justice Samuel Alito clarified in the majority decision that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion” but the Hobbs decision “concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right.”

A vote scheduled for Tuesday on the Respect for Marriage Act, which amends the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, will put all Democrats and Republicans on record regarding same-sex marriage.

FILE - House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., leads a hearing on the future of abortion rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, at the Capitol in Washington, July 14, 2022. 

JUSTICE THOMAS RISES: A MONUMENTAL SUPREME COURT TERM’S RIGHTWARD SHIFT SHOWS NO SIGN OF SLOWING

The decades-old bill, signed into law by former President Bill Clinton, defined marriage as a heterogeneous relationship between a man and woman. The Supreme Court changed this definition in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, but now the House wants the change codified into law.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) looks on House Democrats at the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. 

The Respect for Marriage Act also provides legal protections for other marriages as it prevents states from denying marriage licenses on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.

A vote on contraceptive care is scheduled for later this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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