As President Biden signed into law the historic Respect for Marriage Act in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday, he delivered the following poignant remarks:
“We’re here today to celebrate their courage and everyone who made today possible. Courage that led to progress we’ve seen over the decades. Progress that gives us hope that with every generation will continue our journey toward a more perfect union.
“The road to this moment has been long. But those who believed in equality and justice, have never given up, including many of you standing on the South Lawn here. So many of you put your relationships on the line, your jobs on the line, your lives on the line to fight for the law I’m about to sign. From me and the entire nation, thank you, thank you, thank you.
“It’s one thing for the Supreme Court to rule on a case, but it’s another thing entirely for elected representatives of the people to take a vote on the floor of the United States Congress and say loudly and clearly: Love is love. Right is right. Justice is justice.
“These things are fundamental things that America thinks matter. When a person can be married in the morning and thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, this is still wrong. And that’s why the people you heard speak today continue to fight to pass the Equality Act.
“When hospitals, libraries, and community centers are threatened and intimidated because they support LGBTQ children and families, we have to speak out. We must stop the hate and violence like we just saw in Colorado Springs, where a place of acceptance and celebration was targeted for violence and terror.
“We need to challenge the hundreds of callous and cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors who give children the care they need. And we have to protect these children so they know they are loved and that we will stand up for them and so they can seek for themselves.
“Folks, racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia — they’re all connected. But the antidote to hate is love. This law, and the love it defends, strikes a blow against hate in all its forms. And that’s why this law matters to every single American, no matter who you are or who you love.
“This shouldn’t be about conservative or liberal, red or blue. This is about realizing the promise of the Declaration of Independence, a promise rooted in the sacred and secular beliefs, a promise that we’re all created equal, we’re all entitled to what Abraham Lincoln called ‘an open field and a fair chance.’
There’s nothing more decent, more dignified, and more American than what we’re doing here today. It’s about who we are as a nation. It’s about the substance of our laws. It’s about being true to the best of the soul of America. Decency. Dignity. Love.”