Equality, Whether In Sickness Or In Health

The historic Respect for Marriage Act gets passed into law


Photo by McGlauthon Fleming IV

The historic “Respect for Marriage” Act is now in effect and federally protecting all forms of marriage. After being passed incredibly quickly in the House of Representatives, the current president, Joseph Biden signed it in December. – Made in Canva

The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that federally protects all forms of marriage between two individuals, such as interracial marriage and marriage between two people of the same gender, was signed by President Joseph Biden on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

The bill was initially introduced to the House of Representatives on July 18, 2022, by Representative Jerrold Nadler. The bill repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which aimed to keep gay marriage from being legal, and supports the United States vs. Windsor ruling from 2013. Many think the bill is a step in the right direction that should have been taken sooner, such as student Aether Issacks (12).

“I feel like this is something that should have happened decades earlier,” Issacks said.

This new bill makes it law that the federal government honors all types of marriage between two people. States can make their own decision on the matter but are held accountable for being discriminatory. Many are happy with this arrangement, including Allison Schumacher (10).

“I appreciate the bill being passed because it’s more accepting of different types of relationships,” Schumacher said.

This bill is in response to comments made by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas about returning to strict interpretations of the Constitution after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“In comparison to many of the bills that have been rumored to have passed after Roe v. Wade, I have pretty positive feelings about the bill that was passed because it respects both same-sex and interracial marriage,” Schumacher said.

After the bill’s introduction in the House, they deliberated for a day. They passed it with a vote of 267-15 in favor, and the Senate received the bill on July 19. After that, the Senate did not pursue any action and put it on hold until Nov. 14, when they started deliberating over it again until it was passed and sent back to the House on Nov. 30.

“I didn’t think it was gonna pass,” Issacks said. “I am really happy it did. I don’t understand how you could oppose it, and it’s a long time coming.”

The House picked it up once more on Dec. 8, passed it once more that day and then presented it to the President on Dec. 9. Then the President signed it on Dec. 13. Now that the bill has been signed, many are optimistic of the effects it will have in the future, such as student Clay Shields (9).

“That makes me really happy [as well], knowing that we have a chance to get it accepted, and it might spread around,” Shields said.