December 15, 2022

Democrats Abroad Celebrates Enactment of “Respect for Marriage Act”

December 15th, Washington, D.C. — Democrats Abroad Leadership, including Global LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair Bob Vallier, National Committeeperson Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Global Black Caucus Chair Leedonal 'Jazz' Moore, and International Chair Candice Kerestan, celebrate President Joe Biden for signing the landmark marriage equality bill into law, enshrining marriage equality protections for all Americans.


McDevitt-Pugh, who serves as Recording Secretary of the DNC’s LGBTQIA+ Caucus, said, “For too many years Americans with same-sex foreign partners were locked out of living in the USA by immigration laws that only recognized heterosexual partnerships. Our legal marriages were unrecognized until the 2013 Supreme Court Windsor decision struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). With President Biden’s signature on the Respect for Marriage Act this week, recognition of our marriages is now enshrined in federal law. One more step on the road to full equality. Thank you, President Biden! #lovewins”


Global LGBTQ+ Caucus Chair Bob Vallier said, “In order to get the sixty votes needed, language for “religious exception” had to be included, which opens the door to subsequent judicial challenge. The law is imperfect, but nevertheless, the law means that a marriage - any marriage - performed in a state that respects marriage equality is legal and valid in every other state, no matter how marriage is defined in those other states.  While we still must remain ever vigilant to protect our hard-won rights, this is undeniably a giant and meaningful step forward."


McDevitt-Pugh added, “I especially want to highlight the bipartisan approach of Senator Tammy Baldwin’s efforts on this bill. She worked hard to get the support of twelve Republican Senators, which allowed the bill to overcome the filibuster. Senator Baldwin built a large coalition in support of the Respect for Marriage Act - a coalition that reflects the views  of a majority of the American people.”


Global Black Caucus Chair Leedonal "Jazz" Moore highlighted the importance of the legislation in codifying Loving v. Virginia in their statement on the enactment of the act, saying "While much of the attention has been focused on protections for same-sex marriages, interracial couples are glad Congress also included protections for their marriages, even though their right to marry was well-established decades ago."


“Over 70% of Americans support same sex-marriage, and this legislation is game changing for equal protection under the law for all Americans. I want to thank President Biden, Senator Baldwin, and everyone who voted for this bill. I also want to thank the activists who have continued to fight the good fight and ensure that LGBTQIA+ couples and interracial couples have access to the same rights as heterosexual couples.” said Chair Kerestan.