America Finally Gets With the Programme and Legally Protects Gay Marriage

america gay marriage

US President Joe Biden has dragged America kicking and screaming into 2017 by signing  legislation that recognises same-sex marriages into federal law.

The law repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and prohibits state governments from denying the legitimacy of marriage on the basis of sexuality, race, or ethnicity. It’s somewhat terrifying that they had to codify the legitimacy of ‘interracial’ marriages in 2022.

Biden described the new Respect for Marriage Act as a step towards building a nation where “decency, dignity, and love are recognised, honoured, and protected.”

“My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long, but those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up,” he told a crowd of more than 5,000 people who had gathered on the White House lawn to watch the elaborate signing ceremony.

Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper were in attendance and both performed songs to celebrate the new Act along with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC.

Pete Buttigieg, the first openly-gay cabinet member was at the ceremony, as was Tammy Baldwin, the lead sponsor of the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined in, wearing the same tie he wore to his queer daughter’s wedding.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House who is soon to step down, said that it was fitting that “one of my final acts as speaker” was to pass the new legislation in Congress last week. The Act passed with bipartisan support as 39 Republicans voted with the government.

“Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia – they are all connected. But the antidote is love,” Biden said.

“We got it done. We’re going to continue the work ahead. I promise you,” he added.

Biden himself has undergone a bit of a journey when it comes to equality. Since he became a senator in 1973, his views on abortion, gay marriage, and criminal punishment have all shifted from what would today be considered highly conservative to fairly left-wing, at least by American standards.

Even in 2008, he opposed “redefining what constitutes marriage,” although sources close to the now-President have said he has always been open-minded and ready to move with the times.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign in the US, said that she appreciates the personal growth of the President.

“I do respect and appreciate that he is someone that can admit that his views were outdated in the past and that he has evolved on the subject and is now an outspoken champion and advocate,” she said.

“This is a matter of policy and politicians catching up to where the people already are.”

Biden and the Democrats were essentially forced to act on the legal protection of gay marriage, having been somewhat blindsided by the actions of the Supreme Court in June of this year when they repealed Roe v Wade. The historic legislation, which protected the rights of a woman to have an abortion, was struck down by a Republican majority court who decided it should instead be an issue for the states to decide.

Thirteen US states have since outlawed abortion in the wake of the decision, with many more debating changing their own laws to restrict the medical procedure. Almost one third of women in the US have since lost access to the choice to carry a pregnancy to term or have sometimes life-saving medical intervention.

At the time, the President described the decision as a “tragic error” and the Supreme Court as “out of control.” He has since promised to introduce legislation into the next Congress that would federally legalise abortion access once again.

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