On Tuesday, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan bill that codifies same-sex and interracial marriages in our country. This bill affirms what the vast majority of Americans already believe and provides LGBTQ+ people and interracial couples with federal protections of their right to marry.
While this bill is a step in the right direction, it still falls short of guaranteeing the full right to marry for all couples. Specifically, the bill does not prevent same-sex marriages from becoming illegal again in states that might oppose them if the Supreme Court decides to overturn cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, which holds that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriage.
So what does this mean for our community? While we are pleased that our highest office has taken steps to protect the marriage rights of LGBTQ+ people and interracial couples, other civil rights remain at risk, specifically those in the cases of Griswold v. Connecticut and Lawrence v. Texas. Each of these rely on the 14th Amendment to offer projections and some, on the Supreme Court, have signaled this reasoning is flawed.
We call for our legislators to consider other federal recognition for these rights and other civil liberties as we head into the new year. Our country must move forward, not backward. Equality is achievable if we make efforts to protect all communities and their rights to live freely.