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NASW Commends President Biden, Congress, for Enacting the Respect for Marriage Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) applauds President Biden for signing into law legislation passed by bipartisan majorities in Congress that will protect same-sex and interracial marriages.

“NASW has long supported the rights of people who are LGBTQIA2S+ to marry whom they wish," said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. "NASW was  part of an amicus brief that was behind a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for legalization of same-sex marriage across the United States. However, the rights of people to have a same-sex or interracial marriage may be under threat and we are glad and relieved the Respect for Marriage Act is now law.” 

NASW in July called upon its members to support legislation to safeguard same sex and interracial marriages, noting that with the June 2022 issuance of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the need to pass this critical bill is more urgent than ever to counter potential attacks on other constitutional rights, including same-sex and interracial marriage.

The U.S. House of Representatives on December 8 approved the Respect for Marriage Act, landmark legislation that mandates federal recognition for same-sex and interracial marriages. The bill had already passed the Senate on November 29. The legislation was approved by both the House and Senate with wide bipartisan support.

The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the Clinton era Defense of Marriage Act and safeguards interracial and same sex marriages by requiring that states and state officials recognize valid marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity or national origin.” The bill requires, for federal law purposes, that an individual be considered married if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed. This gives same-sex and interracial couples additional certainty that they will continue to enjoy equal treatment under federal law as all other married couples—as the Constitution requires.

“The passing of the Respect for Marriage Act represents significant progress in advancing civil rights and liberties for LGBTQIA2S+ people,” said NASW President Mildred “Mit” Joyner, DPS, MSW, LCSW. “NASW is proud to have supported the bill and the people that it protects.”

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.