Biden Signs New Law

( On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan bill that will require the federal government to recognize any interracial and same-sex marriage that’s performed at the state level.

While signing the bill at a ceremony on the White House’s South Lawn, Biden said:

“Today is a good day. Today, America takes a final step towards equality for liberty and justice. Not just for some, but for everyone.

“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love, and will you be loyal with that person you love?”

The president added that the government shouldn’t interfere with this marriage arrangement between two people.

The bill was passed by a 258-169 vote in the House and a 61-36 vote in the Senate before it was signed by Biden into law.

Congress acted, according to Biden, because they were afraid that the Supreme Court could eventually overturn the 2015 ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges as well as Loving v. Virginia — two cases that protects both same-sex and interracial marriages.

If those two cases were to be overturned — which is a fear of many people in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion case — then there would be no protections for these types of marriages.

The Respect for Marriage Act guarantees the federal recognition of these marriages. If the Supreme Court were to overturn its precedents in the above two cases, this new federal law wouldn’t require states to issue marriage licenses to interracial couples and same-sex couples.

Essentially, if those precedents were overturned, states would be allowed to make their own decisions on whether to issue marriage licenses to these couples. However, the RFMA would also come into play if this happens.

If that were to happen, all states as well as the federal government would be required to recognize marriages between interracial and same-sex couples as long as they were performed legally in the past or in the future in states where they remain legal.

So, for instance, if the precedents are overturned, same-sex couples may not be able to be married in their home state. However, if they travel to a neighboring state where it is legal and are married there, then their home state — as well as the federal government — would have to recognize the marriage as legal.

This means these couples wouldn’t be able to be denied civil benefits that married couples enjoy — even if the Supreme Court precedents were overturned and their states didn’t issue these marriage certificates.

What’s more, the RFMA provides explicit protections to any religious group that has moral objections to these types of marriages. They wouldn’t be required to provide services or goods to any marriage they object to, and they wouldn’t be at risk of losing their tax-exempt status for doing so.

Before the Obergefell decision was handed down, the National Conference of State Legislatures said that 32 states prohibited same-sex marriages, and many of those laws still remain on the books. So, the new bill will provide a lot of protections to couples around the country.