US President Biden to sign same-sex marriage protection into law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will sign a bill granting federal same-sex marriage protections on Tuesday – gathering thousands of guests at the White House to celebrate the legislative milestone.
It comes 12 years after Biden – then Barack Obama’s vice president – ​​publicly came out in favor of same-sex unions, long before they became legal across the United States through a 2015 US Supreme Court decision.
After the now far more conservative Supreme Court struck down longstanding abortion rights last June, lawmakers on the left and right have come together to block any further action to restrict same-sex marriage rights, feared by some.
The final passage of the legislation by Congress last week marked a rare display of bipartisanship in a deeply divided Washington.
To celebrate, Biden will bring together a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the grounds of the White House, as well as lawyers and plaintiffs in marriage equality cases across the country, his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Biden said Monday. Rock.
Jean-Pierre, who herself made history as the White House’s first openly gay press secretary, also touted “musical guests and performances to celebrate this historic bill.”
The legislation, she said, “will bring peace of mind to millions of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples who will finally be guaranteed the rights and protections to which they and their children are entitled.”
Hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples have married since the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing unions in the United States.
Public acceptance has increased dramatically over the past few decades, with polls now showing that a strong majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.
But some conservatives and the religious right remain opposed.
The new legislation, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, does not require states to legalize same-sex marriage, but does require states to recognize a marriage as long as it was valid in the state where it was solemnized. .
It repeals previous legislation defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman and also protects interracial couples by requiring states to recognize legal marriages without regard to “sex, race, ethnicity or ethnicity”. national origin”.
In the House of Representatives, 39 Republicans joined a united Democratic majority in supporting the bill, while 169 Republicans voted against it. It had already been adopted in the Senate, in equal parts, by 61 votes against 36.
Jean-Pierre said Biden would stress on Tuesday that “much more needs to be done to protect LGBTQI+ people across the country.”
Biden’s spokeswoman recalled that the 80-year-old Democrat was among the first American political leaders to publicly support same-sex unions at the highest levels of government.
In 2012, Biden caused a stir by outspokenly declaring his support for same-sex unions – as the Obama White House was still figuring out how best to formalize the president’s position as he seeks re-election to a second term.
“I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the exact same rights,” Biden said in a TV interview at the time.
” Who do you Love ? Who do you love and will you be faithful to the person you love? Biden said. “That’s what people find out about all marriages at their root.”
After his election in 2020, Biden asked Pete Buttigieg to become his transportation secretary — the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the Senate for a cabinet post.
And beyond the issue of marriage, the Biden administration has taken a strong stance in support of LGBTQ rights — especially toward the transgender community whose push for more rights has become a political flashpoint in the country.
The administration introduced gender-neutral passports — allowing people who do not identify as either male or female to select gender “X” — and it lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces, introduced under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.


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