The Respect for Marriage Act means that all 50 states and the federal government have to recognise all lawfully performed marriages, regardless of the sex of the parties to the marriage.

As a result of Biden signing this law, same-sex couples can rest assured that their union is not subject to the whim of the Supreme Court. In other words, they now have an express legislative right to marry rather than an implied constitutional right, as the differentially constituted US Supreme Court found in 2015.

This reform provides enormous relief to LGBTIQ+ people in the US who have been married since the 2015 US Supreme Court decision Obergefell v Hodges or who want to get married. We didn’t think this legislation was necessary, but when the US Supreme Court went rogue earlier this year and overturned the landmark decision in Roe v Wade, overturning the right of same-sex couples to marry seemed like a distinct possibility.

“Once the Supreme Court held in Dobbs v Jackson that there was no constitutional right to access abortion, all other constitutional rights became more fragile, less secure. The American LGBTIQ+ community has feared that their hard-won rights would be eroded. The Respect of Marriage Act has removed one element of that fear.

However, while this law reform is welcome, much still needs to be done to make the US safe for LGBTIQ+ people. The recent killing of five people at the gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, and the wave of anti-LGBTIQ+ laws sweeping across the country, demonstrate that the ‘land of the free is not a free and safe country for all people.”