According to Biden, the law recognizes that "everyone should have the right to answer those questions for themselves without government interference" and secures the federal "protections that come with marriage." It now mandates that states honor the validity of out-of-state marriage licenses, including same-sex and interracial unions. The new legislation voids the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
"America takes a vital step toward equality, for liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone," he said during the signing ceremony.
During the celebration, singers Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper performed while Vice President Kamala Harris recalled officiating at a lesbian wedding in San Francisco. The White House even played footage of Biden's television interview from a decade ago, when he took a public stand to favor same-sex unions before they became legal throughout the U.S. via a 2015 Supreme Court decision.
A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers were present during the event, as well as advocates and plaintiffs in marriage equality cases across the country. In Congress, 39 Republicans joined the Democratic majority in supporting the said bill, while 169 Republicans voted against it. It was previously adopted in the evenly split Senate by 61 votes to 36. (Related: Pro-LGBT Republican personalities urge GOP senators to back same-sex marriage bill.)
The first openly gay U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin said she was "overcome with joy" at the signing of the law, which she helped draft in Congress. "Today, we are making history and making a difference for millions of Americans," she said in a statement. "We are telling the millions of same-sex and interracial couples that we see them and we respect them."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told the crowd that "inside maneuvering only takes us so far," and she thanked activists for adding impetus with "your impatience, your persistence and your patriotism."
According to Biden, the road to legalizing federal protections for same-sex marriages has been long. He also lauded those who "believed in equality and justice" for not giving up.
Ten years ago, during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," he said: "Look, I am vice president of the United States of America. The president sets the policy. I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don't see much of a distinction beyond that."
The annual Values and Beliefs Gallup poll found that 71 percent of Americans now support legalizing same-sex marriage. This exceeded 70 percent in 2021.
When Gallup first polled about same-sex marriage in 1996, only 27 percent of the public supported legalizing such unions. In 2015, just one month before the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision, public support for legalizing gay marriage cracked the 60 percent level and last year it reached the 70 percent mark.
The survey also pointed to weekly churchgoers remaining the primary demographic holdout against gay marriage, with 40 percent in favor and 58 percent opposed.
To assure conservatives, lawmakers crafted a compromise that religious liberty will be upheld in the new law. Churches could still refuse to perform gay marriages. States would also not be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if the court overturns its 2015 ruling. But they will be required to recognize marriages conducted elsewhere in the country.
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Watch the video below that talks about the signing of the Respect for Marriage bill into law.
This video is from the Wake Up channel on Brighteon.com.