WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5) released the following statement after President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. 

“This is a historic day for the LGBTQ+ community, interracial couples, and every person who believes in equality,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “With this new law, America advances its journey of becoming a more perfect union, proudly declaring love is love. To everyone who fears for their future because of Republican attacks on freedom: Democrats stand with you. Our work isn’t finished until every American has the same access to justice and opportunity.”

"It was not that long ago that our rights and protections as a married couple dissolved at our state border. With great uncertainty concerning potential Supreme Court decisions, I am grateful to the US Congress for passing the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies federal protections for marriages like mine and requires their recognition across state lines.  The struggle for true equity for the LGBTQ+ community is far from over and requires sustained efforts to protect and celebrate our rights and our families.” said Massachusetts State Representative Jack Patrick Lewis.

Assistant Speaker Clark was an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. The new will:

  • Repeal DOMA – The Supreme Court effectively rendered DOMA unconstitutional with its landmark decisions on marriage equality. However, this unconstitutional and discriminatory law remains on the books. The new law will officially repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 
  • Enshrine marriage equality for federal law purposes – The new law requires that an individual is considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. This gives same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all married couples.
  • Provide additional legal protections – The new law prohibits any person acting under the color of state law from denying full faith and credit to an out-of-state marriage based on the sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin of the individuals in the marriage. It also provides the Attorney General the authority to pursue enforcement actions and creates a private right of action for any individual harmed by a violation of this provision.
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