In a historic move, US President Joe Biden has signed gay marriage legislation into law at a ceremony that attracted thousands of people reflecting the growing acceptance of same-sex unions. The ceremony was held on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday against the backdrop of ongoing conservative backlash over gender issues, reported news agency AP.
“This law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms,” said Biden. “And that’s why this law matters to every single American.” Lawmakers from both parties attended the ceremony reflecting the growing acceptance of same-sex unions that once remained the country’s most contentious issues.
The new law is aimed to protect gay marriages if the US Supreme Court happens to reverse its 2015 decision Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized same-sex unions nationwide. The new law also protects interracial marriages. In 1967, the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws in 16 states barring interracial marriage.
Singers Sam Smith and Cyndi Lauper performed at the ceremony. Vice President Kamala Harris remembered officiating at a lesbian wedding in San Francisco. The White House also showed the recording of Biden’s television interview from a decade ago, when he caused a political uproar when he unexpectedly disclosed his support for gay marriage. At that time, Biden was vice president, and President Barack Obama had not yet endorsed the idea.
“I got in trouble,” Biden joked of that moment. Three days later, Obama himself publicly endorsed gay marriage.
Targeting the old laws, Biden said the “callous, cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families and criminalizing doctors who give children the care they need.” “Racism, antisemitism, homophobia, transphobia, they’re all connected,” Biden added. “But the antidote to hate is love.”
The event also witnessed the presence of the owner of Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado where five people were killed in a shooting last month, and two survivors of the attack. The suspect has been charged with hate crimes.
“It’s not lost on me that our struggle for freedom hasn’t been achieved,” said Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “But this is a huge step forward, and we have to celebrate the victories we achieve and use that to fuel the future of the fight.”