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On Tuesday, Dec. 13, President Joe Biden signed the monumental Respect for Marriage Act into law. The landmark act mandates federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.
Thousands of supporters stood on the south lawn of the White House as they celebrated the milestone act. Performances from Sam Smith and long-time LBGTQ ally Cyndi Lauper accompanied the signing ceremony.
Taking the podium, President Biden declared, “Today is a good day!”
“Today, America takes a vital step toward equality, toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone. Toward creating a nation where decency, dignity, and love are recognized, honored, and protected.”
President Biden personally capped the moment when he mentioned the controversy he sparked a decade ago on an episode of “Meet the Press.” The then-vice president publicly supported same-sex marriage for the first time.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties.”
Respect for Marriage Act
Implementing the new law ensures the rights of same-sex marriages if the Supreme Court was ever to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges decision. The Obergefell vs. Hodges decision legalized same marriages in the U.S. in 2015.
According to USA Today, “the Respect for Marriage Act guarantees federal recognition of any marriage between two individuals if the union was valid in the state where it was performed.
The outlet confirms that the act “requires states to accept the legitimacy of a valid marriage performed elsewhere and protects interracial marriages.”
Systematizing gay and interracial marriage rights became a hurried issue after Associate Justice Clarence Thomas urged the supreme court to “reconsider” other rights they had considered in light of overturning Roe Vs. Wade.
The noise surrounding Thomas’s suggestion depreciated as Republican House members sided with the passing. The act passed the Senate with a vote of 61-36, with several Republicans voting to support it. On Dec 8, some Republican House members voted to support the bill, passing it at 258-169.
In a statement released after the legislation cleared, President Biden expressed the bill “will give peace of mind to millions of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples who are now guaranteed the rights and protections to which they and their children are entitled.”
President Biden acknowledged the individuals and families that have championed the fight for equality amongst same-sex and interracial marriages.
Amongst more than 2500 supporters, many prominent members of the LBGTQ community and activists were in attendance.
They included Judy Kasen-Windsor, widow of gay rights activist Edie Windsor, Matthew Haynes, co-owner of Club Q, the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club where patrons were targeted by a gunman last month, and Attorney Phillip Hirschkop.
Attorney Hirschkop is a notable civil rights attorney that represented Mildred and Richard Loving in the landmark case to overturn the Lovings’ conviction for interracial marriage in the state of Virginia.
As he was heading into his appointment with President Biden, The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Attorney Hirschkop on what the signing of this act, almost 55 years after the Loving vs. Virginia decision, means for the country’s progression.
BWSTimes reporter Martie Bowser interviews Attorney Philip Hirschkop, who, in 1967, represented the Lovings in Loving v. Virginia, a catalyst for Marriage Equality in America. Today, President Joe Biden signs the “Respect for Marriage Act.” #RespectForMarriageAct pic.twitter.com/qWDDnPsZWd
— The Black Wall Street Times (@TheBWSTimes) December 13, 2022
As he prepared to sign the bill, President Biden provided thoughts on how this bill is essential, regardless of sexual orientation.
“This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms, “And that’s why this law matters to every single American.”
It was sad to see LGBTQ+ activists once again weaponize black civil rights as a platform for furthering their agenda. This law was crafted in such a way as to force votes for LGBTQ+ by making anyone against gay marriage simultaneously look racist. There are plenty of folks out there who are pro-Black but not for LGBTQ+ agendas. LGBTQ+ have taken the civil rights fight that many black brothers and sisters gave their lives for and turned it into a circus with gender fluidity and identity on the main stage. MLK Jr would die all over again if he saw what was going on today. We need to separate the fight for Black civil rights from LGBTQ+ “civil rights” for more reasons than can be explained in one comment, but mainly so that when that ship goes down, we don’t go down with it.
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