Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act
Biden signs Respect for Marriage Act (Photo: The White House)

Today, in a cer­e­mo­ny at the White House attend­ed by over five thou­sand peo­ple, Pres­i­dent Joe Biden signed into law H.R. 8404, the Respect for Mar­riage Act, “which estab­lish­es statu­to­ry author­i­ty for same-sex and inter­ra­cial mar­riages and repeals pro­vi­sions of law that once pre­vent­ed any State or ter­ri­to­ry from being required to give effect to a same-sex mar­riage from anoth­er State or territory.”

With the stroke of a pen, the dis­crim­i­na­to­ry “Defense of Mar­riage” Act from the 1990s was final­ly repealed and the right wing Supreme Court put on notice that this coun­try won’t stand for the over­turn­ing the land­mark Oberge­fell decision.

Biden was flanked by Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris, Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, First Lady Jill Biden, Sec­ond Gen­tle­man Doug Emhoff, Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Pete Buttigieg, and sev­er­al mem­bers of Con­gress as he signed H.R. 8404. He gave the pen he used to sign the bill — one of sev­er­al cer­e­mo­ni­al pens — to a delight­ed Vice Pres­i­dent Harris.

Watch the bill signing:

The igno­rance of many right wing com­menters was on dis­play on the White House­’s social net­work­ing chan­nels. Randy Haynes, appar­ent­ly unaware that the “Defense of Mar­riage” Act was still on the books (laws struck down as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al don’t mag­i­cal­ly dis­ap­pear of their own accord) whined: “So it was already a law and now it’s a dou­ble law? No, it’s called a diver­sion from real issues this admin­is­tra­tion refus­es to address. Don’t fall for it folks.”

“It has noth­ing to do with respect for mar­riage,” griped Rhon­da Sar­tain.

Actu­al­ly, that is exact­ly what it is about. It’s a very descrip­tive bill title!

Not con­tent with that unimag­i­na­tive retort, Sar­tain went on: “Peo­ple have been able to mar­ry who­ev­er they want­ed for years!!! They tacked on so much non­sense. Going after Chris­tians, church­es, chil­dren, etc. This admin­is­tra­tion and the peo­ple who vot­ed for them are insane­ly cor­rupt and uneducated.”

Exact­ly what “non­sense” has been tacked onto this sim­ple bill? It was so sen­si­ble, in fact, that even Repub­li­can rep­re­sen­ta­tives and sen­a­tors vot­ed for it, allow­ing it to clear the U.S. Sen­ate’s ridicu­lous­ly high clo­ture bar.

Musi­cian Cyn­di Lau­per, who per­formed at the bill sign­ing, told the White House press corps that she was hon­ored and delight­ed to be part of the ceremony.

“I just want to tell you, I came here because I want­ed to just say thank you to Pres­i­dent Biden, Speak­er Pelosi, Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris, and all the advo­cates, and his team.  For — for once, a lot of fam­i­lies — mine and a lot of my friends and peo­ple you know — some­times your neigh­bors — we can rest easy tonight because our fam­i­lies are val­i­dat­ed and because now we’re allowed to love who we love, which sounds odd to say.  But Amer­i­cans can now love who we love.”

“And bless Joe Biden and all the peo­ple that worked on this for allow­ing peo­ple not to wor­ry and their chil­dren not to wor­ry about their future,” Lau­per added.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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