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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Remarks At The White House Signing Ceremony For The Respect For Marriage Act

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke at the White House South Lawn ceremony in celebration of President Biden signing the Respect For Marriage Act.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Hello, everybody! Is this a great day? Boy, is it!

Now, Mr. President, Madam Vice President, Madam Speaker, Dr. Biden, Mr. Emhoff, friends, colleagues, and my fellow Americans:  

For millions of LGBTQ Americans, today is a historic day, a day of jubilation, and a day of relief: President Biden is signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law!

After a lot of hard work, today the long but inexorable march towards greater equality takes an important step forward. By enacting this law, we are sending a message to LGBTQ Americans everywhere: you too deserve dignity, you too deserve equality. That’s about as an American ideal as they come.

Now, few bills have hit home for legislators quite like this one. The exaltation we have, getting this done, it just swells your heart. Passing the Respect for Marriage Act wasn’t just the right thing to do for America; it was personal to us, to our staff, and our families. And it’s certainly personal to me.

The tie I am wearing reminds me what this moment is all about: it’s the tie I wore on the day my daughter got married to a beautiful young lady, one of the happiest days of my life. Today she and her wife are expecting their first child next spring– my third grandchild—and I want them to raise their child with all the love and security that every kid deserves.

And thanks to the millions out there who spent years pushing for change, and thanks to the dogged work of my colleagues, my grandchild will get to live in a world that respects and honors their mothers’ marriage.

So, yes, this is about making life better for millions of LGBTQ Americans across the country, but it’s also about the countless children and families who will be protected by this bill for generations to come.

Nothing about the Respect for Marriage bill was inevitable. On the contrary, it took a lot of faith and a bit of risk-taking to get it done. I remember sitting in my office in September with the negotiators of the bill, and they asked me to delay a vote because we weren’t sure if it would pass. I took a risk. I put my faith in the better angels of human nature and, praise God, we succeeded.

Pushing the Respect For Marriage Act over the finish line took patience and persistence, but today it is paying off.

I want to thank everyone who made this moment possible.

First, thank you to President Biden – an early and fierce proponent of marriage equality – thank you Mr. President for your incredible leadership. Thank you also to Speaker Pelosi and all of my colleagues in the House.

In the Senate, my thanks go to Senators Baldwin and Sinema, as well as Senators Collins, Tillis and Portman. Their work has been magnificent. And I also want to thank someone who deserves a lot of thanks, Senator Feinstein, who originally authored this landmark bill.

Finally, finally, thank you to the American people, the vast majority of whom have understood that the inexorable march towards equality is what America is all about.

You, the American people, made this bill possible. You made change happen. And because of you, we are taking one step closer to fulfilling our work of making a more perfect union!

Thank you all so much!