American President Joe Biden signed into law new federal protections for same-sex and interracial couples.
Dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), this new law voids the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. As such, it mandates that all member states recognize same-sex and interracial marriages if they were legally performed in the past or are performed in the future in places where they are still legal.
“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” Biden said. “It’s not more complicated than that.”
he added that this new law recognizes that “everyone should have the right to answer those questions for themselves without the government interference,” and secures the federal “protections that come with marriage.”
“For most of our nation’s history, we denied interracial couples and same sex couples from these protections,” Biden said. “It failed to treat them with equal dignity and respect. And now, this law requires an interracial marriage and same-sex marriage must be recognized as legal in every state in the nation.”
The RFMA is not a perfect law, nonetheless.
Specifically, it does not enshrine a right to same-sex or interracial marriage nationwide; meaning, it does not require states to perform same-sex and interracial marriages. Also, states are free to deny marriage licenses to same-sex or interracial couples if the Supreme Court of the United States overruled precedents, as it did when non-elected judges overturned abortion rights of women.
RFMA actually also empowers anti-LGBTQIA institutions by explicitly protecting the rights of religious groups to discriminate against LGBTQIA people – i.e. those with moral objections to same-sex or interracial marriages are not required to provide goods or services to the marriages they object to, and their tax-exempt status cannot be rescinded for refusing to perform or respect such marriage.