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US President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA; H.R. 8404), a landmark United States federal legislation passed by the 117th United States Congress protecting same-sex and interracial marriages.

The historic legislation repeals the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and codifies both same-sex and interracial marriages. This simply means that with the Respect for Marriage Act, both the federal and state governments are now required to recognize both same-sex and interracial marriages and they are now prohibited from “denying the validity of a marriage legally performed in another state on the basis of sex, race or ethnicity,” The Guardian reports. For more information regarding RFMA, click here.

DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996, not only defined marriage as “a union between a man and a woman,” but it also denied federal benefits to same-sex couples. Read more about it here.

The signing ceremony, which was held on the South Lawn of the White House, was attended by many guests including some who are notable LGBTQ figures and activists the likes of Sam Smith, Cyndi Lauper, and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC.

Prior to signing the Respect for Marriage Act, Biden said, “The road to this moment has been long, but those who believe in equality and justice, you never gave up.” He added: “This law and the love it defends strikes a blow against hate in all its forms.”

LGBTQ advocate and ally Cyndi Lauper, who performed her iconic song True Colors, also spoke at the event. She said: “I came here because I wanted to say thank you to President Biden, Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, Vice President [Kamala] Harris, and all the advocates on his team. For once, our families — mine and a lot of my friends and people you know, sometimes your neighbors — we can rest easy tonight because our families are validated.”

Lauper added: “Now, we’re allowed to love who we love, which sounds odd to say, but Americans can now love who we love. Bless Joe Biden and all the people that worked on this for allowing people not to worry and their children not to worry about their future.”

Watch Lauper’s performance below:

In addition, Sam Smith also sang their hit single “Stay with Me” at the signing ceremony. They wrote on their official Instagram account:

My deepest thanks to President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden for inviting me to perform at the White House, it was a true honor. Watching President Biden sign the Respect for Marriage Act was a landmark moment for freedom of love and hopefully just the beginning of the important work ahead to continue to expand the protections of the LGBTQ+, non-binary and transgender communities; and build towards a world where love is celebrated regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexuality.

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A post shared by SAM SMITH (@samsmith)

Meanwhile, Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted on his official account: “Starting today, millions of American families will know that our marriages are protected — not just by a margin of one on the Supreme Court but by American law.”

Other guests present at the signing were Pulse Nightclub survivor and activist Brandon Wolf, civil rights attorney Philip Jay Hirschkop (who represented Mildred and Richard Loving in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down laws against interracial marriages), as well as the plaintiffs from the landmark same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, to name a few. Read here for the full story.

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