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ACS CAN supports Respect for Marriage Act passage

Bill helps remove barriers to cancer care for same-sex and interracial married couples.

The U.S. Senate voted Nov. 29 on legislation that would help ensure marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples and their families, as well as protect their ability to access employment benefits, such as health insurance. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports this legislation as it is critical to reducing barriers and ensuring access to affordable, comprehensive health care, including cancer care, for all individuals. 

The Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404/S. 4556) would require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. The bill would also guarantee that valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.

ACS CAN signed onto a letter to senators with dozens of other of health, education, human services, social justice and professional organizations urging passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. The legislation would combat stigma and disparity, which for too long has limited access to high quality health care for communities the organizations represent.  Limited access to the health care system and insurance coverage are among the barriers that can greatly impact a person’s cancer experience and their ability to live a longer, healthier life.  

“It is our position that every person deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer,” said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, CEO of the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN. “No one should fear that marriage-related employment benefits, such as health insurance, could be threatened and therefore jeopardize access to care when facing a cancer diagnosis.”

View ACS CAN’s full statement at

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