The U.S. House of Representatives has given final congressional approval to legislation that provides federal recognition of same-sex marriages, a measure born out of concern that the Supreme Court could reverse its support for legal recognition of such relationships.
The House vote was 258-169, with all of the chamber’s Democrats and 39 Republicans voting in favour – though 169 of the chamber’s Republicans voted against it and one voted “present.”
The measure now goes to Democratic President Joe Biden’s desk for signature into law.
The Respect for Marriage Act, as it is called, won Senate approval last month.
The legislation won the support of LGBT advocates as well as a number of religious organizations and entities including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though many American religious conservatives still oppose gay marriage as counter to biblical scripture.
It is narrowly written to act as a limited backstop for the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.
It would allow the federal government and states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages as long as they were legal in the states where they were performed.
It makes concessions for religious groups and institutions that do not support such marriages.
The measure would repeal a 1996 U.S. law called the Defense of Marriage Act, which among other things denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
It bars states from rejecting the validity of out-of-state marriages on the basis of sex, race or ethnicity.
The Supreme Court in 1967 declared prohibitions on interracial marriage unconstitutional.
But the legislation would not bar states from blocking same-sex or interracial marriages if the Supreme Court allowed them to do so.
It also ensures that religious entities would not be forced to provide goods or services for any marriage and protects them from being denied tax-exempt status or other benefits for declining to recognize same-sex marriages.
In a speech on the House floor ahead of the vote, Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the “hateful movement” behind attacks on LGBT rights in the United States.
The legislation “will help prevent right-wing extremists from upending the lives of loving couples, traumatising kids across the country and turning back the clock on hard-won prizes,” Pelosi said.
Republican Representative Jim Jordan said the bill was “dangerous and takes the country in the wrong direction.”
When the Senate passed it by a vote of 61-36, 12 Republicans joined 49 Democrats in supporting it. Most Senate Republicans voted against it.
A broader version of the bill – without the explicit protections for religious liberty – passed the 435-seat House in August, with the backing of all the Democrats and 47 Republicans.
But to get the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to proceed with the legislation amid opposition by many Republican senators, its co-sponsors added an amendment clarifying that religious groups could not be sued under the it.
The legislation was written by a group of Democratic and Republican senators in response to fears that the Supreme Court, with its increasingly assertive conservative majority, could someday strike down the Obergefell ruling, potentially jeopardizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
The court has shown a willingness to reverse its own precedents as it did in June when it overturned its landmark 1973 ruling that had legalized abortion nationwide.
The Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Monday appeared ready to rule that a Christian web des has a right to refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages in a case the liberal justices said could empower certain businesses to discriminate based on constitutional free speech protections.
Police on trail of man over homosexual practice
Men of the Nigerian Police Force are reportedly on a manhunt for one Mr. Okechukwu Andrew Ogbonna, of 2, Owoseni Street, Oshodi, Lagos State who has allegedly contravened the Same-sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2013 by allegedly publicly contracting a same-sex marriage with one Mr. Joshua his alleged partner.
A source noted that the said Mr Ogbonna is now at large, and the police have turned to his aged mother and legal wife to ensure his re-arrest and prosecution.
The suspect was arrested on the 25th day of May 2022 after the duo were seen in a compromised position publicly and he was subsequently granted bail on the 27th of 2022.
Divestments by foreign companies presents opportunities for strategic partnerships, capacity building of indigenous players – FG
The Federal Government through the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri has argued that divestments by foreign companies in the oil and gas industry presents opportunities for strategic partnerships and capacity building of indigenous players.
The country has recorded International oil companies divesting i from Nigerian crude oil and gas, selling off their assets and seeking other revenue streams. Nigeria currently has five international oil companies still operating in the country: Shell Producing Development Company, Chevron, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Eni.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Amb.Gabriel Aduda at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, he urged stakeholders to remain calm and not be alarmed by divestments hitting the oil and gas industry.
According to him, divestments come along with opportunities and this opportunities must be given attention.
“We recognize that divestment presents various challenges but also presents opportunities for local capacity building and technology transfer.” He said.
The Minister urged the industry to embrace challenges posed by divestments to promote diversification.
He identified that the stakeholders must forge ahead with a vision where the oil and gas industry serves as a catalyst for socio economic development.
The Minister also reiterated the commitment of the Government to foster local content development.
He reiterated the commitment of the FG to promoting decarbonization, cleaner and sustainable energy practices.
The Minister revealed that the government is investing heavily in technology and fostering innovation to reducing emissions.
“To achieve this goals, collaboration amongst local players and communities is paramount to promote clearer energy initiatives and investments.” The Minister stated.
IPPG seeks review of NOGICD act to promote competition, investments
The Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) has called for a review of some sections of the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICD) 2010 to promote competition and increase investments.
Speaking at the 12th Practical Nigerian Content Forum hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, Abdulrazaq Isa, Chairman of the IPPG and CEO of the Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited said: “Our industry is witnessing a transformational shift and this continues to underscore the repositioning of our industry.”
“As an industry, we must remain focused and rapidly exploit our vast hydrocarbon assets for the economic development of our nation. It is therefore important that we look inward to develop the socio-economic landscape of our country.”
“The NOGICD act 2010 is capable of unlocking the economic potential of Nigeria and being an enabler for rapid industrialization.”
Abdulrazaq urged the NCDMB to ensure that local content policies are evaluated and fit for purpose and not counterproductive to the industry’s growth and cost targets.
The IPPG Chairman identified the human capital development requirement of the act as a case point noting that it amounts to multiplication of levies and invariably leads to higher project costs as the companies themselves don’t benefits from the funding dedicated to developing human capital.
He also explained that the multiplicity of levies though unintended to promote local content participation is contributing to low compliance with the act and divestment of investments by foreign operators.
Abdulrazaq noted that the oil and gas industry is a global market and thus as much as the government wants to priotize local content, it must also make the industry globally competitive.
He highlighted that the government must contijue to recognize foreign oil and gas companies as important as they have a part to play in technology transfer pending when local players improve their capacity to support offshore exploration.
The IPPG Chairman also praised the NCDMB ES for raising the bar in local content development.
He noted that the Practical Nigerian Content has always provided a platform for fostering key colloborations in developing the NOGICD for local content development.
The 12th Practical Nigerian Content Feoum holding in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State is themed “Deepening Nigerian Content amidst divestments, domestification and decarbonisation.”
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