Politics

Joe Biden & other Democratic leaders cheer Senate vote on Respect for Marriage Act

31 March 2021: This picture shows American President Joe Biden giving strength during press conference
Photo: Shutterstock

On Wednesday, the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) cleared a major barrier to passage in the Senate. Twelve Republicans joined Senate Democrats in voting to advance the law, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and require all states to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages performed in other states. It now will be debated and possibly amended by the full Senate.

Lawmakers and LGBTQ advocates cheered the landmark bipartisan vote.

“Love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Today’s bipartisan vote brings the United States one step closer to protecting that right in law.”

“The Respect for Marriage Act will ensure that LGBTQI+ couples and interracial couples are respected and protected equally under federal law, and provide more certainty to these families since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.”

“I want to thank the Members of Congress whose leadership has sent a strong message that Republicans and Democrats can work together to secure the fundamental right of Americans to marry the person they love. I urge Congress to quickly send this bill to my desk where I will promptly sign it into law.”

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden retweeted the president’s tweet, writing simply, “Love is love.”

“No one in a same-sex marriage or an interracial marriage should have to worry if their marriage will be invalidated,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote on Twitter. “No one should be discriminated against because of who they love.”

Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who will face Republican challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff election next month, praised the vote on Twitter. “Today, the Respect for Marriage Act made significant progress in the Senate,” Warnock wrote. “This is an important step in the right direction when it comes to securing marriage equality for all.”

“Thankful for the leaders who have worked to negotiate and advance the #RespectforMarriageAct, and hope to see it pass very soon,” tweeted Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “By now our marriages shouldn’t even be in question—but this bill is timely, needed, and the right thing to do.”

In a tweet following his vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) took a shot at the Supreme Court.

“Maybe just maybe, the Supreme Court should realize they have no business telling anyone who they can and can’t love and marry,” he wrote. “I was proud to cast my vote today to finally make marriage equality – including same-sex and interracial marriages – the long overdue law of the land.”

In a statement, the Human Rights Campaign’s incoming president Kelley Robinson noted why the Respect for Marriage Act is so necessary right now.

“The devastating United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a clear reminder that we are just one Supreme Court decision away from losing too many of our hard fought for rights. In the concurring opinion, Justice Thomas made the outrageous suggestion that Lawrence v. Texas and Obergefell v. Hodges should be next to be challenged. It is clear there is an urgent, dire need to ensure, once and for all, that the days of debate around marriage equality are over. The will of the people is on our side,” Robinson said.

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