“Bless Joe Biden, and all the people that worked on this, for allowing people not to worry and their children not to worry about their future,” singer said before the signing
Cyndi Lauper stopped by a White House press briefing on Tuesday to express gratitude to Joe Biden and his administration successfully passing the Respect for Marriage Act. The legislation, passed in the midst of potential restrictions by the Supreme Court, fortified marriage rights across the country, particularly for same-sex and interracial couples.
“I wanted to say thank you to President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, Vice President Harris, and all the advocates on his team,” the singer shared. “For once, our families — mine and a lot of my friends and people you know, sometimes your neighbors — we can rest easy tonight because our families are validated.”
“Today is a good day,” Biden said at the White House. “A day America takes a vital step toward equality, for liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone. Toward creating a nation where decency, dignity and love are recognized, honored, and protected.”
The Respect for Marriage Act official repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricted marriage to exclusively being between a man and woman. It was trumped by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, which established same-sex marriage as a 14th Amendment right. Now, states are required to recognize all marriages across state lines and provide same-sex couples the same federal benefits as any married couple.
“We’re here today to celebrate their courage and everyone who made the day possible,” the president continued. “Courage that led to progress we’ve seen over the decades, progress that gives us hope that every generation will continue on our journey toward a more perfect union.”
When President Biden signed the act into law on the White House lawn, Lauper delivered a special performance of “True Colors” for the occasion. Lauper has been a notable LGBTQ+ rights advocate for much of her career, having also founded the nonprofit organization True Colors Fund in 2008 to expand education on LGBTQ+ issues and help to end homelessness for LGBTQ+ youth.
“Now we’re allowed to love who we love — which sounds odd to say — but Americans can now love who we love,” Lauper added at the White House. “Bless Joe Biden, and all the people that worked on this, for allowing people not to worry and their children not to worry about their future.”
Sam Smith also attended for a performance of “Stay With Me.” In an Instagram post, the musician wrote: “My deepest thanks to President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for inviting me to perform at the White House, it was a true honor. I felt inspired to change the lyrics of “Stay With Me” from, “this ain’t love, it’s clear to see” to “this is love, it’s clear to see” to mark the historic occasion.”
They added: “Watching President Biden sign the Respect for Marriage Act was a landmark moment for freedom of love and hopefully just the beginning of the important work ahead to continue to expand the protections of the LGBTQ+, non-binary and transgender communities; and build towards a world where love is celebrated regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality.”
With survivors of the recent Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs and another from the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in attendance, as well as plaintiffs from the Obergefell v. Hodges and Loving vs Virginia (which struck down laws banning interracial marriage) cases, Biden added: “We need to challenge the hundreds of callous, cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors who give children the care they need. We have to protect these children so they know they’re loved and we will stand up for them.”
Closing out, he continued: “Folks: Racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia are all connected. But the antidote to hate is love… This law matters to every single American, no matter who you are or who you love.”