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President Biden Signs the Respect for Marriage Act

President Biden signing the bill at the Respect for Marriage Act Ceremony outside the White House. Crowd of people with legislators and community.
President Biden signing the RMA, surrounded by legislators and community

Today President Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act. At a signing ceremony outside the White House, President Biden was joined by Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith of Massachusetts, one of the seven plaintiff couples that successfully won the freedom to marry in the landmark Goodridge v. MA Department of Public Health ruling in 2003.

A couple speaking in front of the white house, one at the podium and the other, her wife. standing at the side watching her.
Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith

“Twenty-six years ago, Heidi was pregnant with our first child,” said Gina Nortonsmith. “We were overjoyed and terrified. Although we had been a committed couple for six years, the state wouldn’t let us marry…We realized to access the protections our family needed, we had to sue the state. We became one of the seven plaintiff couples in Goodridge vs. MA Department of Public Health, the case that led to marriage equality in Massachusetts and ultimately, the United States.”

“It takes the efforts of many to bend the arc of history toward justice,” said Heidi Nortonsmith. “Even now there are so many places where people in our community are under attack. The work will continue, but look how far we’ve come. The law that President Biden signs today will make people safer, more secure and less alone. From our family to all of you, thank you for fighting for our equal humanity and dignity. For our right to love and be loved. And for our marriage.”

The couple’s full remarks are currently available here.

Statement from Janson Wu, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders

Outside the white house, decorated in rainbow lights for the RMA signing ceremony, two people take a selfie
Board President Darian Butcher and Executive Director Janson Wu

This is a joyful day. Millions of couples and their children across the country now have the assurance that their families will continue to be respected by our state and federal governments because President Biden has signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. The effort to pass the Respect for Marriage Act spanned decades and involved the work of so many. It’s passage this year demonstrates the strong and growing support for equality among Americans of all political parties and from all walks of life.

Nearly 20 years ago, Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, together with other courageous couples, first won the freedom to marry in GLAD’s Massachusetts Goodridge case. It was thrilling to see them at the White House today as Congress and the President affirmed our nation’s commitment to the freedom to marry the person you love and have your family respected and protected, regardless of race or sex. Today is truly a celebration of love, equality, and dignity for families like Heidi and Gina’s, and for all our families.

3 adults, one holding a small child, stand in the white house lobby. The person holding the child is Black, wearing a mask, and has short hair. The middle person is a blonde white person with glasses. The person on the right is a Brown femme with bold lipstick and printed top.

We are grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris, to the Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle who came together to pass this law, and to the millions of people across the country who have fought for decades to get us here. We will take the joy and energy from this celebration to continue the work for full freedom, safety, and justice for all people.

White House on a clear cold day. People milling about on the front. President Biden stands at a podium in the foreground.

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Learn more about the Respect for Marriage Act

Watch the signing ceremony