President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law Tuesday afternoon, ensuring the federal protection of same-sex and interracial marriages. Thousands gathered on the South Lawn to mark the significant milestone in the quest for marriage equality.
The White House invited thousands to join the president and other government officials for the celebratory ceremony. The event featured musical guests that performed before Biden's remarks, such as Sam Smith and longtime LGBTQ rights advocate Cyndi Lauper. Invited guests included the co-owner of Club Q, the Colorado LGBTQ club that was attacked by a gunman last month, and two survivors of the mass shooting. The White House also invited plaintiffs from Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationally, and lawyers who represented the interracial couple at the center of the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case.
The bill signing illuminates how far Biden has come on the issue of equal rights for the LGBTQ community. Biden evolved from voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 to declaring he was "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex marriages in a 2012 interview while vice president. His remarks on Tuesday reflected Biden's modern-day support for LGBTQ equality.
"My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long, but those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up," Biden told the cheering crowd. "We got it done. We're going to continue the work ahead. I promise you."
The landmark Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan effort, passed the Senate last month and the House last week with support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill was sparked by fears that the Supreme Court would turn its attention to reconsidering marriage equality laws after overturning Roe v. Wade.