LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass historic legislation to provide federal safeguards for same-sex and interracial marriages.

All four Arkansas representatives voted against the ‘Respect for Marriage Act.’

The final vote was 258-169, 39 Republicans joining all Democrats in supporting the measure. Reps. Steve Womack, Bruce Westerman, French Hill and Rick Crawford all voted against.

“The institution of marriage between one man and one woman predates any government, and the true meaning of marriage exists outside of government regulation,” Westerman wrote in a statement.

“The ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ not only overreaches into that institution, but it directly threatens Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion by opening individuals to litigation in retaliation for their deeply held beliefs and revoking or changing faith-based organizations’ tax-exempt status for their stance on same-sex marriage. Our constitution leaves no room for negotiation when it states Congress may make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This bill is a clear example of government overreach and presents real dangers to Americans’ First Amendment rights, and for that reason, I cannot support it.”

Crawford blamed the legislation on politics.

“The Supreme Court has already made rulings on both gay marriage and interracial marriage and there is no indication that the Supreme Court would change them,” Crawford wrote in a statement.

“This bill is a cynical partisan exercise designed to generate fear and distract from the real threats Americans are facing such as rising crime and record high inflation.”

Members of the LGBTQ community in Little Rock expressed relief that the bill will soon be signed into law by President Biden. Before federal legalization in 2015, Arkansas grappled with same-sex marriage in 2014. Two judges struck down the state’s ban, but both rulings were stayed.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” said Gwendolyn Herzig, who’s been married to her wife for more than a decade. “It’s one less thing to worry about.”

Herzig said those who voted against the legislation are not representing people in minority communities.

“I feel like that sends a message that we’re okay with discrimination, which really sows the seeds of violence,” Herzig said.

Herzig said targeted violence against LGBTQ community members across the country makes this “bittersweet.” She said people are happy but also reeling from those recent acts.

“With the Club Q shooting recently and also with the LGBTQ community along with other minority communities being warned about potentially domestic terrorist threats, it’s good but bittersweet,” Herzig said.