The Respect for Marriage Act Is Signed Into Law in the United States

President Biden signed a bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage rights.

President Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act at The White House surrounded by Congress

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The right for same-sex and interracial couples to get married has officially been federally protected within the United States. On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, which prohibits states from denying the validity of out-of-state marriages based on sex, race, or ethnicity. The new bill officially repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. While this bill was considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court with the Obergefell v. Hodges case in 2015, many were nervous that the current sitting judges may overturn this landmark decision. With the Respect for Marriage Act, the federal government ensures that the right to marriage is officially defended for all in the United States.

The White House hosted a joyous celebration with a crowd of 5,300 people on the South Lawn for the signing. Attendees included members of Congress, as well as prominent members and defenders of the LGBTQIA+ community including Pete and Chasten Buttigieg, Senator Tammy Baldwin, and survivors of the Club Q shooting. The event featured performances by Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith, who sang their hits "True Colors" and "Stay With Me," as the walls of The White House were lit up with rainbow-hued lights.

“My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long, but those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up,” shared President Biden, according to the The New York Times. "We got it done. We’re going to continue the work ahead. I promise you.”

"Today, I sign the Respect for Marriage Act into law," President Biden said, CBS reports. "Deciding whether to marry, who to marry, is one of the most profound decisions a person can make. And as I've said before and some of you might remember, on a certain TV show 10 years ago, I got in trouble. Marriage, I mean this with all of my heart, marriage is a simple proposition: Who do you love and will you be loyal to that person you love? It's not more complicated than that."

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose daughter is married to a woman, also spoke at the signing. "The tie I am wearing reminds me what this moment is all about," he said, according to CBS. "It's the tie I wore on the day my daughter got married to a beautiful young lady, one of the happiest days of my life. Today, she and her wife are expecting their first child next spring, my third grandchild. And I want them to raise their child with all the love and security that every kid deserves. And thanks to the millions out there who spent years pushing for change and thanks to the dogged work of my colleagues, my grandchild will get to live in a world that respects and honors their mother's marriage."

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