President Biden signs Respect For Marriage Act

Thousands gathered at the White House on December 13th to watch the “Respect For Marriage Act” get signed.

Suzy Brooks

Thousands gathered at the White House on December 13th to watch the “Respect For Marriage Act” get signed.

Aarushi Mandal, Editorial/Opinion Editor

President Joe Biden signed the “Respect For Marriage Act” on December 13th, assuring the legality of interracial and same-sex marriage in all 50 states. 

Due to marriage being previously defined as “only the union of a man and woman,” many LGBT couples faced problems in obtaining marriage licenses within their state. President Biden acknowledged this prejudice and how previous government actions “failed to treat them with equal dignity and respect.”

President Biden denounced any government involvement on the subject of marriage stating, “Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” He continued, saying, “everyone should have the right to answer those questions for themselves without the government interference.”

The new legislation officially overturns the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act” under which the government only acknowledged marriage between a man and woman. Due to the overturning of the former act, states are now required to recognize valid marriages, including those officiated in other states.

The Respect For Marriage Act secures the “protections that come with marriage,” establishing equality among all married couples regardless of gender, race or sexuality.

Although same-sex marriage was declared legal after the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, the overturning of Roe v.Wade made people fear that Obergefell v. Hodges would be next. However, the Act solidified that this would not be the case for same-sex marriage, relieving many that were concerned about the issue.

Over 5,000 people joined the President for the ceremony during which the bill would be signed, including many prominent LGBT activists, the owner of Club Q, performer Cindy Lauper and members of the house and senate. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke out on the signing of the Act.

The tie I am wearing reminds me what this moment is all about,” stated Senator Schumer. “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.”

Similar to Schumer, politicians such as Nancy Pelosi also expressed enthusiasm for the legislation. Pelosi explained how the last bill she signed as she ended her term as Speaker of the House of Representatives was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” an Act that allowed gay and lesbian citizens to serve in the military. Pelosi found it “fitting” that some of her “final acts of speakership” are signing this Act.

The “Respect For Marriage Act” is a large step in expanding rights for both people of color and the LGBT community. Many hope similar political and social strides continue in future years.