Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten Celebrates Senate Passage of Landmark Bill Codifying Federal Protections for Same-Sex Marriages

For Release:


Sarah Hager Mosby

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the Senate passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide federal protections for same-sex marriages, moving the historic measure closer to President Biden’s desk for his signature:

“Marriage is one of the most cherished traditions in our society, but it hasn’t always been legal or obtainable for all. Bans against interracial marriage were allowed until the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1967, and same-sex couples could be denied the right to marry until the Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015. Marriage equality has been a hard-fought and hard-won right, but in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision and ongoing attacks on so many of our basic freedoms, it’s clear every right is at risk.

“And that makes the Respect for Marriage Act all the more important, because it enshrines marriages like mine—and like that of many of the parents of students we teach and patients we care for—into federal law and provides the same legal protections for same-sex couples that all other marriages currently enjoy. It tells same-sex couples that their marriages are valid and respected, and that the institution of marriage and the benefits of that union are respected. It values love and the vows that enshrine it. Americans overwhelmingly support the constitutional right to marry whomever they love without government interference. This is our time to act and protect our freedom to love and to marry.”

# # # #

The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.