New law protects same-sex and interracial marriages
By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill codifying protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.
“Today is a good day,” President Biden said. “A day America takes a vital step toward equality, for liberty and justice, not just for some but for everyone.”
The signing took place after a ceremony and string of performances from gay entertainers. The bill, which received support from nearly 40 House Republicans last week to send it to the president, repeals the federal Defense of Marriage Act that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
As The Center Square previously reported, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., helped lead the effort in the Senate, where the bill was first passed. Her office said the legislation would “require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.”
The legislation would also guarantee that “valid marriages between two individuals are given full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity or national origin, but the bill would not require a state to issue a marriage license contrary to state law.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 on the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges to make same-sex marriage the law of the land nationwide. That ruling required states to allow same-sex unions under law. The high court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade earlier this year as well as comments made by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas raised concerns that the court could do the same to the Obergefell ruling.
“Passing the Respect for Marriage Act wasn’t just the right thing to do for America,” Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “It was personal to us, to our staff, and to our families.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.