Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith sing as Biden signs marriage equality bill


Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith perform as Joe Biden signs Respect For Marriage Act
Images: CSPAN, Nancy Pelosi/Twitter

US same-sex couples, politicians and celebrities have celebrated at the White House watching President Joe Biden sign landmark legislation protecting same-sex marriages from challenges by conservatives.

The Respect for Marriage Act protects same-sex and interracial marriages and stops federal and state governments from denying the validity of lawfully-performed marriages.

“Marriage is a simple proposition,” President Biden said.

“Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love? It’s not more complicated than that.

“The law recognises that everyone should have the right to answer those questions for themselves. Today’s a good day.”

Biden said the recently-passed law “and the love it defends strikes a blow against hate in all its forms.”

“Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, they’re all connected. But the antidote to hate is love,” he said.

Joe Biden pays tribute to couples who fought for marriage equality

The Respect For Marriage Act emerged out of fear same-sex marriage nationally was at risk after the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v Wade, eliminating abortion rights.

One conservative justice, Clarence Thomas, suggested in a concurring opinion the court should also reconsider cases such as Obergefell v Hodges. That landmark 2015 ruling legalised same-sex marriage nationwide.

Under the new Respect for Marriage Act, individual states could still refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

However, the new law will now mean all states must recognise marriages legally performed in other states.

The bill recently passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support with most – but not all – Republicans opposing it.

Speaking at the signing, President Biden paid tribute to Richard and Mildred Loving, whose Supreme Court challenge won the right to interracial marriage nationwide in 1967.

He also honoured the LGBTIQ+ activists who later fought for the right to same-sex marriage, such as the late Edie Windsor, who challenged the Defense of Marriage Act which denied federal recognition to her and wife Thea Spyer.

The new Respect for Marriage Act also finally repeals the defunct Defense of Marriage Act.

Cyndi Lauper applauds law and says queer couples can ‘rest easy’

Before the signing of the law at the White House, Cyndi Lauper performed True Colors and Sam Smith performed Stay With Me in front of large crowds.

Lauper, a longtime LGBTIQ+ activist, said at the White House “we can rest easy tonight because our families are validated”.

“Bless Joe Biden, and all the people that worked on this, for allowing people not to worry and their children not to worry about their future,” she said.

 

New York drag artist and activist Marti Cummings and RuPaul’s Drag Race queen Brita Filter also went to the White House, sharing a photo of the building lit up in rainbow lights.

 

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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