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Christian Leaders React to the Signing of the Respect for Marriage Act Into Law

Respect for Marriage Act
Mliu92, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday (Dec. 13), President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, which codifies federal recognition of same-sex and interracial marriage. 

The bill, which has been cause for concern among some conservatives who worry that it does not contain enough provisions for religious liberty, was written largely as a response to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court ruling, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, reversing the decision to make access to abortion a constitutional right. 

In a concurring opinion in that decision, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that SCOTUS should also re-evaluate the legal precedents established in cases that had previously provided federal protections for access to contraceptives, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage. 

As a result, members of Congress sought to codify the right to same-sex and interracial marriage should Obergefell eventually fall—something legislators were unable to do with regard to federal laws ensuring access to abortion.

In an address given at the bill’s signing, President Biden referred to the Respect for Marriage Act as “a vital step toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone—everyone. Toward creating a nation where decency, dignity, and love are recognized, honored, and protected.”

“As I’ve said before…marriage is a simple proposition,” Biden went on to say. “Who do you love, and will you be loyal to that person that you love? It’s not more complicated than that.”

Following the signing of the bill into law, the White House was illuminated with the colors of the rainbow, representing LGBTQ+ pride, just as it was in 2015 when SCOTUS handed down its Obergefell ruling.

The bill, which was a bipartisan effort involving the votes of 39 House Republicans and 12 Republican Senators, has been lauded by many as a win for civil rights. 

Nevertheless, a number of prominent Christian leaders have weighed in with a mixture of disappointment and criticism. 

In advance of Biden’s address, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted, “Here’s a confident prediction for you. President Biden will be at absolute peak Biden at the ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ minutes away at the White House. Brace yourselves. Watch for every imaginable form of progressive virtue signaling.”

“And do not forget that then Vice President Biden was earlier than Obama in declaring himself all for gay marriage, starting ten years ago. Obama had been for gay marriage, then against it, and then for it again. Biden claimed 10 years ago that gay marriage was ‘inevitable,’” Mohler went on to say.

David Closson, director of the Center for Biblical Worldview, tweeted, “Once again, ‘Evangelicals for Biden’ is awfully quiet right now.”