LGBTQ families react after President Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act

LGBTQ families celebrate after President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act at a ceremony on the White House South Lawn Tuesday afternoon.

The law enacts protections for same-sex and interracial marriage by requiring states to recognize legal partnerships that take place in other states. It does not require states to issue marriage licenses for same-sex or interracial couples — these marriages are currently protected by the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges and 1967 Loving v. Virginia judgments – but the new law will effectively prevent marriage. Same-sex and interracial couples are now denied the civil benefits available to them if any of these decisions are reversed.

The House of Representatives passed the bill by a margin of 169 to 258 on Thursday last week. to the president’s desk.

Thirty-nine House Republicans and 12 Senate Republicans joined the Democrats to pass the measure.

Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez were formally married in 2007 and then in 2012.

Courtesy of the Love-Ramirez family

Kent Love-Ramirez, who married his wife Diego Love-Ramirez in 2007 and then remarried in an official ceremony in 2012, told “Good Morning America” ​​that they followed the bill passed by Congress last year and applauded Biden’s proposal on Tuesday. the signing of the law calls it a “happy” development.

“It was reassuring to see how many elected Republican officials align with the Democrats to push this forward,” the Michigan resident added. “But it was equally disheartening to see how many people opposed it. So from what we’ve seen in society – as our families are starting to be more widely accepted – and frankly, many elected officials need to capture what we’re already seeing in our communities in our day-to-day lives.”

Love-Ramirez also said that the law is not a complete package that provides marriage equality for all.

“It’s definitely a moment to celebrate, but it’s not uncompromising,” the father of two said. “I always try to explain that while it’s a good moment, it’s not the end of the game, there are still limitations and there isn’t complete equality for families like ours.”

In addition to providing some protections for same-sex and interracial couples, the Respect for Marriage Act also offers protections to religious groups that oppose these marriages, preventing these couples from losing their tax-exempt status if they refuse to provide services or goods.

PHOTO: Kent Love-Ramirez and Diego Love-Ramirez with their children.

Kent Love-Ramirez and Diego Love-Ramirez with their children.

Courtesy of the Love-Ramirez Family

Beth McDonough of Northwest Pennsylvania also commended the passing of the Respect for Marriage Act this week and warned that she feels more needs to be done to fully protect same-sex and interracial couples.

“I’m excited that our country has come such a long way in a short time in public opinion on gay marriage, and I’m excited that federal protections are enacted to protect existing marriages,” McDonough told GMA in an email.

“I don’t think many people realize that this leaves LGBTQ+ couples who still want to get married vulnerable to discrimination in their state,” he added. “As far as we’ve come, we still have a long way to go in protecting queer people’s equal right to form families. Our culture is still steeped in the belief that marriage is a very special ‘right’ way. And it’s important for us to keep moving forward and normalize the fact that there are many ways to start a family.”

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ organization based in St. Petersburg, hailed the signing of the law as a “promising step” and “an important piece of law” at a time when LGBTQ children and parents are under brutal attack. “

“I think today is an important step in reinforcing that our families deserve the same protections that others take for granted,” Smith told GMA.

The law specifically recognizes marriages like Smith’s, who is Black and is married to a white woman.

“As a lesbian in interracial marriage, that’s pretty important,” she said.

The majority of Americans support marriage equality. The majority of Americans support LGBTQ rights, but I think it’s important for everyone to wake up to this tough cadre of domestic terrorists who want to silence most people, for whom that isn’t the most important. to intimidate those who are with us, the daily problem of their lives and the most important issue that affects our daily life.”

Love-Ramirez said there are likely still barriers to unmarried LGBTQ couples like herself and her husband.

“Consensus in law, from his point of view [not obligating] It doesn’t concern us if states do same-sex marriages, but we consider it a concern for people who are not yet married and will still have to go out if the Supreme Court breaks marriage equality. “It’s appalling if they live in a state where same-sex marriages don’t take place,” he said.

Love-Ramirez said she will continue to advocate for others in the LGBTQ community until this “slow march” towards marriage equality is achieved.

“It is a continuation of many steps that have brought us to this point because so much advocacy and progress has brought us to this point.” “So a moment to celebrate a long journey to full equality.”

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