President Biden Signs Historic Right To Marry Bill
President Biden signed a historic bill enshrining the right to marry into law today. All states will be required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, and same-sex marriage will be recognized at the federal level.
“With President Biden signing the Respect for Marriage Act today, the right to marry has now been enshrined into federal law,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “While same-sex couples rejoiced when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to license and recognize same-sex marriage, we now know that precedent is not enough when it comes to basic human rights. We saw the folly of that in June when Roe v. Wade was overturned after more than 50 years.
“The government has no place deciding who we should love and who we should marry, and this new federal law makes that clear, protecting not only same-sex couples but interracial ones as well. The New York State Bar Association values diversity, equity and inclusion. That is why we fought for the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York more than a decade ago. That is why we support a women’s right to choose an abortion. And that is why we are thrilled on this historic day to see President Biden sign the Respect for Marriage Act into law.”
Equality under the law is a core tenant of the New York State Bar Association. In 2009, the association issued a landmark report calling for the extension of full marriage rights to same-sex couples as the only legal and pragmatic way to ensure equality.
In 2015, the association joined 30 organizations nationwide in filing an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. The brief argued that marriage bans set people apart and discriminate against gay men, lesbians and their families. The Court ultimately ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriages and must recognize same–sex marriages performed in other states.
The association also supports the Equality Act, which is pending in Congress. The measure would expand the protected category of “sex” to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” and provide additional protections within the new expanded category.
It would bar discrimination in employment, public schools, housing, credit opportunities, juries, and federally-funded programs on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This bill is among the association’s federal legislative priorities.