“There is nothing more decent, more dignified, more American about what we are doing here today,” Biden said during his speech at the White House before the signing.
The White House pulled out all the stops for the event, featuring several speakers, four musical performances, and remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Thousands of activists and Democrats cheered throughout the event. that was over an hour and 40 minutes long and included performances from singers Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith.
“This shouldn’t be about being conservative or liberal, red or blue, no this is about realizing the promise of the Declaration of Independence, a promise rooted in sacred and secular beliefs,” Biden said.
While he celebrated the moment as a major victory, Biden warned that bigotry against gay people was still a problem.
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“When a person can be married in the morning and thrown out of a restaurant for being gay in the afternoon, this is still wrong,” he said.
During his remarks, Biden referred to his 2015 comments as vice president on Meet the Press that famously upstaged President Barack Obama’s position change on gay marriage.
“Marriage is a simple proposition. Who do you love?” he said.
He quipped that “I got in trouble” with Obama’s aides for jumping ahead of the president’s announcement.
But Biden used the occasion as a promise to keep fighting for transgender rights.
“We need to challenge the hundreds of callous, cynical laws introduced in the states targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalizing doctors who give children the care they need,” he said. “We have to protect these children.”
Harris used her remarks to mark the moment as part of the fight to make abortion federally legal.
“For LGBTQI+ and interracial couples, this is a victory and part of a larger fight, the Dobbs’ decision reminds us that fundamental rights are interconnected, including the right to marry who you love, the right to access contraception, and the right to decisions about your own body,” she said.
After Biden signed the bill, he handed Vice President Harris the pen as activists cheered.