Washington, DC – On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, President Biden signed into law H.R. 8404, the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which establishes statutory authority for same-sex and interracial marriages. The act repeals provisions of law that once prevented any State or territory from being required to give effect to a same-sex marriage from another State or territory.
Speaking to a crowd of 5,300 assembled on the South Lawn of the White House, President Biden said, “Today is a good day. A day America takes a vital step toward equality, toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone — everyone. Toward creating a nation where decency, dignity, and love are recognized, honored, and protected.”
The bill secures the federal rights and protections that come with marriage, like when spouse is ill and you’re legally recognized as a next of kin. “For most of our nation’s history, we denied interracial couples and same-sex couples from these protections. We failed. We failed to treat them with an equal dignity and respect.” said Biden
Now the law requires that interracial marriages and same-sex marriage must be recognized as legal in every state in the nation, although it does not guarantee the right to marry.
Vice President Kamala Harris said, “This is a victory and it’s part of a larger fight.” The Dobbs decision is a reminder that “fundamental rights are interconnected, including the right to marry who you love, the right to access contraception, and the right to make decisions about your own body.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that passing the Respect For Marriage Act was not only the right thing to do, it was personal, noting that the tie he was wearing was the tie he wore on the day his daughter married her wife.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation wouldn’t have happened without the support of those in the crowd at the grassroots level, adding that she was “overwhelmed with emotion” when the House passed the bill last week. “This is the latest leap forward in our fight for equality,” she said.