Biden signs bill protecting same-sex marriage rights

WASHINGTON β€” On Tuesday, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law, requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage and limiting his personal access to North Korea during his four-decade-long political career. In the direction of advocating gay rights.

At an elaborate signing ceremony on the South Lawn featuring musical performances by Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith, Mr. Biden told thousands of supporters and lawmakers, The new law represents a rare moment of bipartisanship in which Democrats and Republicans have come together.

“My fellow Americans, the road to this moment has been long, but those of you who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up,” Trump said. Biden told the crowd that White House officials later said there were 5,300 before signing the bill amid loud cheers. He added: “We’re done. We’re going to move on with the work. I promise you.”

The landmark legislation, passed by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, formally repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, which formally defined marriage as between a man and a woman a quarter-century ago. The new law prohibits states from denying the validity of out-of-state marriages based on sex, race or ethnicity.

The meeting, held against the backdrop of the White House on a crisp December afternoon, was especially important for Democratic lawmakers, who may sign the last major bill of their tenure given that Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives next month.

For Mr. Biden, who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act as a senator in 1996 and balked at making gay men and lesbians serve in the military, the signing showed just how much the president has changed in support of LGBTQ equality.

This is another example of how Mr. Biden’s gradual transformation as a politician more broadly matches the evolution of his own party, as he began public life on Jan. 1 as a junior senator. 3, 1973.

His views on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and sentencing reform — views that once placed him on the more conservative side of the party’s ideological spectrum — are now more firmly in line with what has inspired Democrats and even many Republicans over the past few years. The party’s position is the same.

The country continues to be deeply ideologically divided. But in some areas, there are new and different majorities now expressing support for social and political norms that are very different from those of the previous generation, and the presidency has changed a lot over time.

In many ways, his arc is the arc of the country.

gentlemen. Biden, 80, grew up in a time when much of the country was less tolerant of people’s sexual orientation. His policy choices in the Senate reflected the era, often supporting those who proposed restrictions or restrictions on gay men. He backed a measure to limit the teaching of homosexuality in schools, one of the equality movement’s many failures.

During a 2008 vice-presidential debate with Sarah Palin, Biden said he opposed “a civil redefinition of what marriage is.” But people close to Mr. Biden said he was open to the issue and keenly observed the changes in society around him β€” and slowly shifted his position.

Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “I do respect and appreciate his ability to acknowledge that his views have been outdated in the past, and that he has advanced on the issue and is now an outspoken advocate and advocate Those.” A gay rights group in Washington. “It’s a matter of policy for politicians to catch up to where people are already.”

gentlemen. Biden is also now a staunch supporter of a woman’s right to choose abortion, despite reservations earlier in his career. A devout Catholic, the president was once an outspoken critic of abortion rights but has since become a quiet — if uncomfortable — defender of abortion rights in the Senate.

Since the Supreme Court ruling in June ending the constitutional right to abortion, Mr. Biden has been vehemently condemning the Dobbs v. Trump decision. Women’s Health in Jackson has repeatedly called for legislation to replace 50-year-old court precedent with legal protections for women’s right to abortion.

gentlemen. Biden has also changed his mind on criminal sentencing, an issue that has increasingly brought Democrats and Republicans together in recent years. In 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed the First Step Act, a bipartisan compromise to reform sentencing laws, including mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

As a young Senator, Mr. Biden has repeatedly backed tough-on-crime legislation, culminating in his support of the 1994 crime bill, which many in his party now blame for ushering in an era of mass incarceration, especially among minorities. In a speech at the time, Mr. Biden boasted that his view on crime was to “lock the SOB up.”

That is no longer his point of view. As a candidate, he pledged to repeal the provisions of the 1994 law. As president, he used his clemency powers to free people who had been imprisoned for decades for petty crimes. In October, Mr. Biden granted a blanket pardon to anyone convicted of a federal crime for possessing marijuana. He encouraged governors to emulate state marijuana laws.

But there is no question representing mr. Biden’s propensity to accommodate social and political change and same-sex marriage. Polls show public opinion has shifted dramatically across the political spectrum over the past decade, with nearly 70 percent of Americans now saying they support the right of same-sex couples to marry, along with all the rights that opposite-sex couples enjoy under the law.

The president unequivocally supported the law he signed Tuesday, saying earlier this year he believed “Republicans and Democrats can work together to ensure Americans’ fundamental right to marry the people they love.”

But it also points to persistent concerns that newfound gay rights may be fragile. Part of the push to pass the law was a Supreme Court opinion overturning abortion rights, in which Justice Clarence Thomas raised the possibility of using the same logic to reconsider decisions protecting marriage equality and contraceptive rights.

Opponents of the legislation argue that it would undermine American family values ​​and limit the religious freedom of those who do not believe same-sex marriage is moral.

Supporters of the new law insist that Congress needs to be proactive in ensuring that future Supreme Court rulings do not invalidate same-sex marriages nationwide. In 2015, the court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that all states must recognize marriages between same-sex couples, just as they recognize marriages between men and women.

Widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage, once a bitterly divisive political issue, was the backdrop for rare bipartisanship in Congress as 61 senators and 258 members of the House voted to send the Respect for Marriage Act to Trump. A desk signed by Biden.

At the time, there was no doubt the president would sign it. A 2020 presidential candidate, he is an ardent supporter of gay rights and same-sex marriage. He has appointed dozens of LGBTQ officials to his administration, including Pete Buttigieg, who was transportation secretary. Some gay rights leaders have hailed him as the most pro-equality president ever.

As Vice President, Mr. Biden publicly announced his support for same-sex marriage in front of his boss, President Barack Obama, awaiting Mr. Obama announces re-election. In a 2012 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Mr. “I’m very happy with the fact that men marry men, women marry women, and heterosexual men and women marry with exactly the same rights, all civil rights,” Biden said.

It’s an important moment, especially for one of America’s most famous Catholic politicians. The marriage bill, signed on Tuesday, is the latest evidence that whatever is unnerving Mr. In the early stages of his career, Biden all but evaporated.

“On this day, Jill and I think of the brave couples and committed advocates who have fought on the Supreme Court and in Congress for decades to ensure marriage equality across the country,” said Mr. Biden said in a statement after the House passed it last week. “We must not stop fighting for full equality for LGBTQI+ Americans and all Americans.”

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