Biden Signs Respect For Marriage Act Into Law
President Joe Biden signed a bill on Tuesday in front of a large crowd on the White House South Lawn to protect same-sex and interracial marriage.
“For most of our nation’s history, we denied interracial couples and same-sex couples from these protections,” Biden said in a speech at the signing. “It failed to treat them with equal dignity and respect. And now, this law requires an interracial marriage and same-sex marriage must be recognized as legal in every state in the nation.”
“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” the president added. “It’s not more complicated than that.”
The signing of the Respect for Marriage Act officially repeals the Defense of Marriage Act which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It does not, however, protect same-sex marriages at the federal level should the conservative-leaning Supreme Court overturn 2015’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision. If that were to happen, the decision on marriage equality would be left up to the discretion of individual states.
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Even if Obergefell v. Hodges is overturned, the Respect for Marriage Act will ensure the recognition of a same-sex union if it was legally performed before the date that the decision was overruled or if the marriage is performed in a place where it is legal.
While the new bipartisan law seeks to protect marriages, it also protects religious individuals or groups from being required to provide goods or services to same-sex or interracial couples if they feel morally conflicted by ensuring they cannot be punished through the removal of their tax-exempt status.
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