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Lambda Legal Hails Enactment of the Respect for Marriage Act

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December 13, 2022
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Lambda Legal Chief Legal Officer Jennifer C. Pizer with her wife at the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act.

Lambda Legal today applauded President Biden’s signing today of the Respect for Marriage Act. The law eliminates the federal Defense of Marriage Act, while acknowledging the existing constitutional and other religious liberty rights to oppose marriage for same-sex couples and provides that houses of worship and certain other religious entities cannot be forced to provide goods, services, or facilities for the solemnization or celebration of same-sex couples’ marriages. The amendment also confirms that the law cannot be interpreted in a way that would allow polygamous marriages. 

Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings stated: 

“With his signature today, President Biden has erased the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act from the books and protected LGBTQ+ families from the possible depredations of a rogue Supreme Court.” 

Lambda Legal Chief Legal Officer Jennifer C. Pizer added: 

“Today we are witness to the final erasure of the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which has been an ugly stain on our federal statute books since 1996. While not perfect, the Respect for Marriage Act ensures marriages solemnized validly anywhere in these United States are valid everywhere in our country without government discrimination based on sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin. As important, those marriages are protected from the possible attacks of an extremist Supreme Court were it to take the outrageous, discriminatory step of erasing the fundamental right to marry. 

“However, as we are now entering a new year with discriminatory state legislatures readying new attacks on LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV, especially targeting transgender youth, now more than ever we need the Equality Act to follow the Respect for Marriage Act quickly into the U.S. Code.”