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Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Biden signs legislation to protect same-sex marriage

Biden signs same-sex marriage protections into law

 WASHINGTON: On Tuesday, a bill granting federal protections to same-sex marriage was signed into law by US President Joe Biden. A large number of guests gathered at the White House to celebrate the legislative milestone.

Biden hailed the landmark law as a rights victory, citing his public support for same-sex unions as vice president long before they became legal in the United States in a 2015 Supreme Court decision.

During the signing ceremony on Tuesday afternoon, he stated, "America takes a vital step toward equality, for liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone."

Legislators from both the left and the right banded together to thwart any subsequent attempt to restrict same-sex marriage rights after the long-standing abortion rights were overturned in June by the US Supreme Court, which is now significantly more conservative.

In a deeply divided Washington, the legislation's final adoption by Congress last week was a rare display of bipartisanship.

On the grounds of the White House, Biden and a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers celebrated with advocates and plaintiffs in marriage equality cases nationwide.

The first openly gay US senator, Tammy Baldwin, said she was "overcome with joy" when the law she helped draft was signed.

In a statement, she said, "Today, we are making history and making a difference for millions of Americans."

"We are letting the millions of same-sex and interracial couples know that we see them and respect them," the statement reads.

"Will give peace of mind to millions of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples who will finally be guaranteed the rights and protections to which they are entitled," said White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday.

As the first openly gay press secretary for the White House, Jean-Pierre herself made history.

Since the Supreme Court's decision in 2015 to make unions between people of the same sex legal across the nation, hundreds of thousands of people of the same sex have married.

In recent decades, public support for same-sex marriage has increased dramatically, as evidenced by polls showing that a substantial majority of Americans support it.

However, a few preservationists and the strict right stay went against.

The Respect for Marriage Act, a new piece of legislation, doesn't force states to legalize same-sex marriage, but it does make them have to recognize a marriage as long as it was legal in the state where it was done.

It also protects interracial couples by requiring states to recognize legal marriages without regard to "sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin." In addition, it repeals previous legislation that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

39 Republicans voted in favor of the bill in the House of Representatives, while 169 Republicans voted against it. The bill was supported by a Democratic majority. It was previously approved by 61 votes to 36 in the evenly divided Senate.

"There is much more work to be done to protect LGBTQI+ individuals across the country," Jean-Pierre said Monday.

She recalled that the Democrat, who was 80 years old at the time, was one of the first political leaders in the United States to publicly support same-sex marriages at the highest levels of government.

When Barack Obama's White House was still looking for the best way to make the president's position official as he sought reelection to a second term, in 2012, Biden caused a stir by candidly declaring his support for same-sex unions.

Biden appointed Pete Buttigieg as his transport secretary in 2020, making him the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the Senate to a cabinet position.

In addition, the Biden administration has taken a firm stand in support of LGBTQ rights, particularly in relation to the transgender community, whose demand for greater rights has become a political flashpoint in the country. This support extends beyond the issue of marriage.

The administration has lifted a ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces that was imposed by Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump. Gender-neutral passports allow people who do not identify as male or female to select the gender "X."

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