Today, in a historic move for the LGBTQ+ community, President Joe Biden signed legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriage.
The Respect for Marriage Act passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress following months of negotiations and controversies surrounding how it would affect different religions.
The Senate initially passed the bill 61–36, and the House voted last week 258–169 to send it to Biden’s desk for approval.
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The act prevents states—regardless of their individual laws on marriage—from using the “sex, race, national origin or ethnicity” of a married pair as a basis for denying them constitutional rights or protections. It also states that the federal government must recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.
“Today is a good day,” Biden said in his White House speech. “A day America takes a vital step toward equality, for liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone. Toward creating a nation where decency, dignity and love are recognized, honored and protected.”
“We’re here today to celebrate their courage and everyone who made the day possible,” the president continued. “Courage that led to progress we’ve seen over the decades, progress that gives us hope that every generation will continue on our journey toward a more perfect union.”
Thousands of people—including Club Q founder Matthew Haynes and two survivors of last month’s tragic shooting at the establishment, as well as a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting—gathered today on the White House South Lawn to celebrate the milestone of the Respect for Marriage Act becoming law, a White House official told ABC News.
Singers Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper also performed. Smith sang their song “Stay with Me,” while Lauper sang her hit “True Colors.”
“We can rest easy tonight because our families are validated,” Lauper told reporters, per ABC News.
Rosa Sanchez is the senior news editor at Harper’s Bazaar, working on news as it relates to entertainment, fashion, and culture. Previously, she was a news editor at ABC News and, prior to that, a managing editor of celebrity news at American Media. She has also written features for Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Forbes, and The Hollywood Reporter, among other outlets.