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STATEMENT: President Biden Signs Historic Respect for Marriage Act Into Law
December 13, 2022 at 2:20 pm

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December 13, 2022

CONTACT: Samuel Garrett-Pate, Equality California
PHONE: (213)355-3057/MOBILE: (213)355-3057/EMAIL: press@eqca.org

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act Tuesday, repealing the 1996 so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” protecting marriage equality for same-sex and interracial couples under federal law and affirming that states must recognize valid marriages performed in other states. The legislation is  just the second LGBTQ+ civil rights bill to ever pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law — after the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 — and further cements the Biden’s legacy as the most pro-equality president in the nation’s history.

Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Tony Hoang:

“This is an historic milestone for our movement and an important victory for hundreds of thousands of loving couples and their children across the nation. All Americans deserve the freedom to marry the person they love, and this bill is a reflection of the fact that for the majority of Americans — across all political parties, backgrounds, and in every corner of the country — the debate over marriage equality is settled.

“President Biden has once again demonstrated his administration’s unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community today. Since his first day in office, the President has shown his support for full, lived LGBTQ+ equality — using executive orders to combat anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination and lift the ban on transgender military service, nominating and appointing openly LGBTQ+ officials like Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine and Pete Buttigieg to key positions in his administration and supporting passage of the Equality Act.

“As much as this legislation accomplishes, it does not end all discrimination against LGBTQ+ people across the country or the hateful rhetoric from anti-LGBTQ+ politicians and extremists. The Senate should continue this bipartisan cooperation and pass the Equality Act to finally provide to LGBTQ+ people across the country with basic legal protections against discrimination.”

The Respect for Marriage Act officially repeals the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act—” passed in 1996 but struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013 (Section 3, U.S. v. Windsor) and 2015 (Section 2, Obergefell v. Hodges). Additionally, it requires full federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriages nationwide, as well as affirming that states must recognize valid marriage licenses from other states, should the Court overturn Obergefell — as Justice Thomas has indicated he would like the Court to do.

The bill initially passed the House in July of this year by a bipartisan vote of 267-157. In the Senate, it was amended by a bipartisan coalition led by openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and passed 61-36, with 12 Republicans joining all voting Democrats in the affirmative; this amended version was approved by the House on December 8 by a vote of 258-169, with 39 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting for passage. The bill is also one of the last to be signed by outgoing U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who began her career in Congress with a floor speech about the AIDS crisis and secured the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell as Speaker in 2010.


Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org

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