Biden signs bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law

Same-sex and interracial marriage now protected following Senate’s passing of the Respect for Marriage Act


Yuri Gripas / Abaca Press / TNS

U.S. President Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022.

Tati Rubi, Staff Writer

Senate voted on Nov. 29 on a bill to codify the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage protections in the Respect for Marriage Act. The legislation repeals the Bill Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and requires that all states recognize interracial and same-sex marriages.

Forty-seven House Republicans initially voted for the proposal in July. 39 House Republicans ultimately supported the measure, which passed the House 258-169. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled the final vote, the measure headed to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

“It both reflects and accelerates the profound transformation of hearts and minds,” gay rights advocate and Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson says, “as well as law and politics around the treatment of gay people.”

Seven House Republicans — Cliff Bentz, Mario Díaz-Balart, BrianMast, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, María Elvira Salazar and Jeff Van Drew — voted yes in July on the legislation but opposed its passage on Nov 29. Two Republicans also did not vote on the legislation.

Two Republicans who previously opposed the bill, Reps. Mike Gallagher and Jaime Herrera Beutler, supported its final passage. 

“The right to marry whoever you love regardless of the color of your skin or orientation shouldn’t be controversial,” Republican Nancy Mace says. “Our nation was built on the notion of individual liberty.”

Biden expressed his support for the bipartisan passage of the bill and the protections it grants interracial and same-sex couples.

“Today, Congress took a critical step to ensure that Americans have the right to marry the person they love,” Biden says. “While we are one step closer on our long journey to build a more perfect union, we must never stop fighting for full equality for LGBTQI+ Americans.”

He signed the RFMA into a law on Tuesday, Dec. 13, codifying same-sex and interracial marriages, and held a large celebration on the South Lawn of the White House.

“I think this is great,” Lily Adams, a sophomore at MCHS, says. “I dont think same-sex marriage should be a political debate. It’s very much a basic human right to love who you want to love.”

The RFMA builds on work by former Democrat President Barack Obama, who was hesitant to share his support for same-sex marriage, but eventually did in 2012.