When he served as vice president of the United States, Joe Biden got way ahead of the Barack Obama administration on the issue of same-sex marriage.
President Obama had opposed it publicly. Then Biden blurted out on national TV that he thought that gay couples are entitled to the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. Indeed, the Constitution backed up Biden’s assertion, which reportedly didn’t go over well in the West Wing of the White House.
Obama left office in January 2017. Joe Biden became president in January 2021. This week, he put his signature on a law that finishes what the president started with his assertion that same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution.
Oh, and his signature also has codified rules allowing mixed-race couples to marry, which is another huge step toward preserving our nation’s guarantee that all citizens are entitled to “equal protection under the laws.”
“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to that person you love?” the president asked from the South Lawn as he signed the Respect for Marriage Act. “It’s not more complicated than that.”
I never thought of President Biden as a trailblazer until that moment in 2012 when he stepped out in front of the administration he served. He was right then, and he was very correct this week when he signed legislation approved by congressional members of both parties. The Supreme Court would rule in 2015 that same-sex couples had a legal right to marry, setting off celebrations across the country
The signing this week also seeks to forgo a bizarre threat offered by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who — after the court struck down the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion — hinted that the court might take aim at same-sex and interracial marriages. Yep, that’s weird coming from a Black justice who happens to be married to a white woman. He need not worry now about whether the court is going to make his marriage illegal … you know?
Joe Biden’s firmness is a welcome sign of reason and resolve in a government plagued too often in recent times by chaos and confusion. Well done, Mr. President.