With President Biden’s Signature, the Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act Becomes Biggest Legislative Win in the Fight for LGBTQ+ Equality in Over a Decade
WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — celebrated today as President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. Arguably the biggest legislative win in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality since the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law was repealed in 2010, this legislation will guarantee the federal rights, benefits and obligations of marriages in the federal code for same-sex couples; repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); and affirm that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. It also codifies the same rights for interracial couples.
The legislation garnered 51 House and Senate Republican votes, the most of any LGBTQ+ pro-equality legislation in history and did so in the most politically polarized Congress to ever exist. These 51 votes demonstrate beyond a doubt that support for same-sex marriage and causes of LGBTQ+ equality bridge even the deepest entrenched ideological divides in America.
“Today is a historic day and a much-needed victory for our community. It should be lost on no one that this bill signing comes less than a month after a deadly attack on our community in Colorado Springs, and at a time when the community continues to face ongoing threats of online and offline violence, as well as legislative attacks on our rights. In signing this bill, President Biden has shown that LGBTQ+ peoples’ lives and love are valid and supported,” said Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson. “As a queer, married woman, this moment holds personal significance, and I will hold my wife and our son a little tighter tonight, alongside the 568,000 other same-sex married couples. We thank our legislative heroes and President Biden who fought to ensure that marriage equality will forever remain here to stay. And we continue our fight for the safety and security of our entire community.”
HRC worked tirelessly to engage our members and supporters in favor of this legislation, mobilizing 242 major businesses with over 8.5 million employees, a grassroots army of more than 3 million members, supporters and volunteers, and the nation’s 62 million “Equality Voters” to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. HRC supporters made more than 30,000 calls, sent over 76,000 emails, and wrote more than 58,000 letters to Congressional offices in support of the RMA. To read personal stories of why marriage equality is important to LGBTQ+ couples across the country, click here, and to watch a video featuring a D.C.-based couple, click here.
More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality
According to Gallup, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. 55% of Republicans support same-sex marriage, along with 83% of Democrats and 73% of Independents. According to recent polling from HRC, 64% of people living in battleground states – AZ, CA, GA, MI, NV, PA, WI, FL, NH, NC, OH, TX, CO, and ME – support marriage equality, demonstrating the issue’s popularity even in politically divided states. The latest survey from PRRI this year found that support for marriage equality has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Today, majorities of most religious groups favor marriage equality. White evangelical Protestants (35%) and Latter-day Saints (46%) remain the only major religious groups with less than majority support for marriage equality. According to the last Census, about 58% (568,000) of couples in the nation’s 980,000 same-sex households were married and about 42% were unmarried partners.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.