Biden signs bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriages

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. This law codifies protections for interracial and same-sex couples.

Biden stated that while the road to this moment was long, those who believe in equality, justice, and fairness, have never given up. “So many of your relationships, jobs, and lives were at stake to support the law I am about to sign. To me, and for the nation, I say thank you.

The signing was a huge event that attracted thousands of people to the White House South Lawn. As Biden spoke, several plaintiffs in LGBTQ rights legal cases stood behind him. Biden was accompanied by Jill Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman. Before Biden spoke, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave speeches. Cindy Lauper and Sam Smith also performed.

However, the Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t guarantee that you can marry. It stipulates that all states must recognize the same-sex marriages within their borders and that married couples with same sexual orientations have the same federal benefits.


After Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, the rights to abortion were reaffirmed. Justice Clarence Thomas’ Dobbs-v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concurring opinions listed Obergefell V. Hodges as another case that could be reexamined. This case affirmed the right to same-sex marriage.

Thomas also mentioned Griswold vs. Connecticut in 1965, where the Supreme Court ruled that married couples had the right of contraceptives. Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which established the right for private sexual acts, was also mentioned.

Biden mentioned the case and Thomas’ concurring opinion Tuesday.

Biden stated, “Sadly, we must also recognize another reason we are here.” “Congress is acting because the extreme Supreme Court has taken away the right that many Americans have had for over a century, the Dobbs decision. “The court’s conservative extreme majority overturned Roe V. Wade and the freedom to choose.”

However, the Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t codify same-sex marital relationships. This means that states that oppose same sex marriage, such as those in anti-abortion states, could make it illegal if Obergefell V. Hodges is overturned by the Supreme Court.

Biden stated that it was one thing for the Supreme Court not to decide on a case. “It’s one thing for the Supreme Court to rule on a case,” Biden said.

Twelve Republican senators joined Democrats and 39 GOP representatives in passing the bill. After passing the Senate in a 61-36 vote the previous week, the bill was passed in the House by 258 to169 on Thursday.

Pelosi, reflecting back on her long career as a House speaker, stated that one of the last bills she signed after her first term was over, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. This bans LGBTQ servicemembers discussing their sexuality. As she finishes her second term as speaker, she noted that the Respect for Marriage Act would be the last bill she signs.

Biden’s views have changed over time to support same-sex married, just like many Americans. Biden had voted earlier in his long Senate tenure for legislation that would limit the advancement of LGBTQ rights, such as the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The signing of Tuesday’s legislation overturned DOMA as it was known.

In a 2008 vice presidential debate, Biden stated that neither he nor former President Barack Obama supported changing the civil definitions of marriage. On NBC’s Meet the Press in 2012, Vice President Biden supported same-sex marriage and announced his support.

Harris stated that she often thinks back to the Valentine’s Day 2004 week when she performed the first national marriages of identical-sex couples at San Francisco City Hall.

Harris stated, “I saw tears in joy that day as people celebrated fundamental human rights, such as the right to be acknowledged as a family and the right to be with someone you love.” Harris continued by quoting a San Francisco champion of LGBTQ rights, and the first openly homosexual man elected to public office.

Harris stated, “As Harvey Milk once said, ‘Rights can only be won by those who make themselves heard.'” Marriage is safer when you make your voice heard.