The president signed legislation Congress passed last week ensuring federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.
President Joe Biden signed legislation Tuesday to codify federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages in a ceremony at the White House.
Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff also attended.
“Today is a good day, a day America takes a vital step toward equality, toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone,” Biden said.
Biden emphasized bipartisan support for the legislation, passed by Congress last week while calling for more to be done, including a renewed push for a bill to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Biden also quoted directly from a 2012 interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” in which he came out in public support of same-sex marriage ahead of then-President Barack Obama. Biden’s words from that interview were featured on a program for the event.
Biden signs same-sex marriage bill at White House ceremony
The legislation Biden signed drafted by a bipartisan group led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the first openly gay person elected to the Senate. It will ensure that the federal government recognizes marriages and guarantee full benefits “regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.” The law will not, however, require states to issue marriage licenses contrary to state laws.
The House voted 258-169 to pass the Respect for Marriage Act last week, sending it to the president. The Senate had already passed it late last month by a vote of 61-36.
Democrats unanimously voted to support the legislation, while most Republicans in both chambers opposed it.
Hundreds attended the bill signing on the South Lawn, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., her office confirmed — an appearance with Biden that comes just days after she left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent. Sinema was a lead co-sponsor of the bill, along with Baldwin and Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Rob Portman of Ohio. She helped broker a compromise amendment about religious freedom protections that secured GOP votes for the underlying legislation.
The amendment included language saying that religious organizations would not required to perform same-sex marriages and that the federal government would not required to protect polygamous marriages.
A White House official say other attendees at the signing included Matthew Haynes, a co-owner of Club Q, the LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where five people killed last month, and shooting survivors James Slaugh and Michael Anderson. Cyndi Lauper, the singer and longtime advocate for LGBTQ rights, performed the song “True Colors.”