President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law at a Tuesday White House ceremony, thereby recognizing same-sex and interracial marriages at a federal level.
The law overturns the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing marriages that were not between a man and a woman.
More than 5,000 guests, including everyone from lawmakers to drag queens, were invited to celebrate the occasion on the White House’s South Lawn.
Biden said in signing the law: “Today, I sign the Respect for Marriage Act into law. 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.”
He added, “My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long. But those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up. Many of you are standing out on the South Lawn here. So many of you put your relationships on the line, your jobs on the line, your lives on the line.”
“This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms. And that’s why this law matters to every single American,” Biden said. “Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, they’re all connected. But the antidote to hate is love.”
The Act was passed after receiving bipartisan support, with 39 House Republicans joined Democrats in voting to forward the bill to Biden’s desk.
12 Republican Senators also voted for the legislation, after Democrats agreed to add an amendment clarifying that nonprofit religious groups wouldn’t be required to provide services, goods or facilities to celebrate same-sex marriages.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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