Gill Foundation Statement on the Signing of the Respect for Marriage Act
December 13, 2022
Today the Gill Foundation is thrilled to celebrate President Biden’s signing of the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. This represents a momentous victory for LGBTQ families, ensuring critical protections for more than 700,000 married couples and their families across the country. It represents a capstone on one of the LGBTQ movement’s core priorities for more than 50 years. And it represents a triumph of bipartisanship that many didn’t think possible.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – which fired a warning shot at marriage equality – many LGBTQ people felt their relationships and families to be very much at risk. With the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, today their lives are more secure. Not since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010 has Congress enacted such sweeping protections for LGBTQ Americans – and with such significant bipartisan support.
The groundwork for this victory was laid through decades of hard work. It began with individuals and families telling their stories and reminding their communities that everyone has LGBTQ people in their lives – and that we love just like they do. It rippled out through advocates and allies who mobilized their neighbors, engaged their elected officials, and demonstrated the strength of pro-LGBTQ support across the political spectrum. It was amplified by the organizers and donors who identified opportunities for policy change and marshalled resources and support to bring them to life.
The Respect for Marriage Act proves the real-world impact of a Gill Foundation guiding principle: Think about the world as friends and future friends. When we began our work advocating for LGBTQ equality three decades ago, it seemed impossible that 267 House members and 61 Senators would vote in favor of same-sex marriage. Even in 2015, when Obergefell made marriage equality the law of the land, it was hard to imagine achieving this level of bipartisan support. Through patience, persistence, and an openness to work with everyone who is willing to come to the table for equality – no matter their party or faith – the LGBTQ movement and allies achieved what seemed impossible just a few years ago.
We must carry these lessons forward into other critical battles for LGBTQ equality: for trans rights, for nondiscrimination protections, for restrictions on conversation therapy – the list goes on. We must also celebrate our successes and show our gratitude for those who have fought to bring us to this point. So for today, thank you to all who have worked to advance the cause of marriage equality, enlist the support of allies of every stripe, and come together to make LGBTQ lives and families more secure.