Civil rights groups praise passage of Respect for Marriage Act

A crowd of thousands erupted in cheers on the South Lawn of the White House after President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. The new law is intended to protect gay marriage if the U.S. Supreme Court would ever reverse its 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage.

"This law and the love it defends strike a blow at hate and all its forms and that's why this law matters to every single American," Biden said.

Congress passed the law last week with the support of some Republicans.

The legislation was in response to comments from conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in June. After the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, Thomas said the court should revisit other decisions including the legalization of gay marriage.

"This shouldn't be about conservative or liberal," Biden said. "Red or blue."

The new law also protects interracial marriage.

Lamba Legal

Sasha Buchert, an attorney for Lambda Legal, an organization protecting gay rights, said the law was needed to secure all federal rights protections that come with marriage. 

"We know that the vast majority of Americans support marriage equality," Buchert said. "Just a really welcome step forward to protect over 500,000 marriages across the country to make sure that people can move through the country without fear that their marriage is going to be disrespected."

"With his signature today, President Biden has erased the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act from the books and protected LGBTQ+ families from the possible depredations of a rogue Supreme Court," Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said in a statement. 

Human Rights Campaign

"It's not lost on me that our struggle for freedom hasn't been achieved," Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said. "But this is a huge step forward, and we have to celebrate the victories we achieve and use that to fuel the future of the fight."

The Human Rights Campaign is an organization working to end discrimination against LGBTQ people.


"Today, as it always does, love wins. The new law will protect LGBTQ Americans and couples of different races, and their families, recognizing that they and their marriages are as loving and worthy of recognition as any other couple," GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. "GLAAD is proud to be among all those at the White House celebration today who helped achieve this milestone and continue to fight for equality, freedom, and acceptance for every LGBTQ person."

GLAAD bills itself as the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization.

With FOX 5 NY and The Associated Press.