President Biden spoke about the bill prior to signing it during a ceremony. (Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Biden spoke about the bill prior to signing it during a ceremony.

Photo Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Respect for Marriage Act signed into law

January 5, 2023

On Tuesday, December 13, President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law.


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The bill was first introduced by Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and was supported by 189 co-sponsors. The bill passed through Congress with bipartisan support.

“I support this act,” said Jayce Seth (’25), when asked about the act.

The bill provides federal protections for interracial and same-sex marriage. The rulings of United States v. Windsor, Loving v. Virginia, and parts of Obergefell were codified with the Act’s passing. 

For those who don’t know, these court cases each have their own hand in the act, with certain parts being used for the Respect for Marriage Act. The Windsor ruling decided that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional. The Loving ruling declared laws banning interracial marriages to be unconstitutional. The Obergefell ruling requires states to recognize same-sex marriages conducted.

The act will apply not only to the states, but also to territories and possessions of the US government, such as Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

Public rallying for the federal protection of interracial and same-sex marriage only intensified after the repeal of Roe v. Wade earlier this year. 

“I support the marriages being protected by federal law as I am the product of an interracial marriage, so the fact that it had to be codified into law is sad, and that without cases like Loving and Obergefell I wouldn’t exist, so I’m glad that love wins,” said Vice Principal Melissa Cox.

Biden has been noted to be a long supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, and many activists are giving praise to the president for signing the bill and reaffirming rights for many Americans.

However, there is also criticism being given towards the act. One criticism is that the bill only requires that states and the federal government respect same-sex marriages in places that it is legal, if Obergefell were to be overturned by the Supreme Court, rather than protect the right to same-sex marriage.

Another criticism is the religious freedom aspects that protect nonprofit and religious organizations from having to provide support to same-sex couples. Many activists criticize this part of the bill, but many religious groups see this bill as a good compromise.

“I don’t personally agree due to my faith, but I support it being protected by federal law,” said Sofia Genco (’25).

As of December 2022, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University shows that about 68% of Americans support legal recognition of same-sex couples. Another poll shows that 94% of Americans support interracial marriage.

Acitivists for and opposing same-sex marriage in front of the Supreme Court in 2015. (Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Overall, it seems that the Respect for Marriage Act is an approved law by the American public’s majority.

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