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The Respect for Marriage Act, late November 2022

The Respect for Marriage Act - a great bipartisan milestone! The bill, which passed just this week in the US Senate, now returns to the House for another vote before it proceeds to the President to be signed into law. The Act will provide protections to LGBTQ+ couples at the federal level, specifically to ensure that our marriages cannot be annulled should the US Supreme Court at some point in the future overturn the Obergefell v. Hodges decision of 2015 which provided national marriage equality.

Again, The Respect for Marriage Act is a great achievement! However, it is not a guarantee of ongoing marriage equality throughout the country. Individual states are poised to disallow LGBTQ+ couples to marry, should the Supreme Court overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. This would likely mean that in the future couples who reside in certain states might have to cross borders to legally marry... and it opens the door for individual states to find ways to limit state protections after the couple is married, even though federal protections will remain intact.

The Respect for Marriage Act also does not provide any further protections to guard against discrimination from particular wedding vendors.

So... there is still work to do on behalf of full equality for our community!! Celebrate this victory... and continue to keep yourself informed as future legislation is considered. And most of all, continue to stay active in the community and VOTE in all elections to do your part to forward EQUALITY for us all.

As always, if you have questions about the specifics of the law and how it applies to you and your committed relationship with your partner and/or your family, RainbowWeddingNetwork encourages you to seek out legal counsel from someone who is experienced with LGBTQ+ issues.

Respect for Marriage Act - November 16 2022

Nov. 16, 2022 - The United States Senate is set to vote on the federal Respect for Marriage Act today.  The federal law, which is expected to pass, would ensure marriage recognition between states should Obergefell be overturned at some point in the future by the conservative-leaning Federal Supreme Court.  The law would ensure that states not recognizing or barring same-sex marriages in a post-Obergefell world would be required to recognize legal marriages from other states, at least with regard to federal rights and responsibilities. It would not, however, have an impact on rights at the state level.  The law is designed to ensure some degree of protection in a worst-case scenario for marriage equality, while still on a firm states' rights standing to guard it from future legal challenges.  It is arguably the most important milestone for LGBTQ+ rights since the June 2015 Obergefell vs Hodges ruling. 

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Press Release from Equality Florida - October 19, 2022


For Immediate Release: October 19, 2022

Media Contact:

Brittany Link ; Communications Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Joe Saunders; Senior Political Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 407-497-4986

Florida Board of Education Passes New Sweeping Anti-LGBTQ Rules

New rules target school districts that have LGBTQ-Inclusive policies, teachers, and transgender youth

ORLANDO, FL -- Today, the Board of Education voted unanimously on new rules designed to intimidate school districts and teachers that affirm LGBTQ students — including expanding the enforcement of HB 1557, the Don’t Say LGBTQ law. One rule passed today threatens teachers with termination of both their job and education certificate if they are found to have engaged in “classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity”. As passed, the discriminatory Don’t Say LGBTQ law allows conservative parents to sue school districts but is silent regarding individual educators. Proponents of the Don’t Say LGBTQ law failed to heed the objections of Equality Florida and other civil rights groups who shared deep concern with the law’s vague and undefined reference to “classroom instruction”. The rule passed today does nothing to clarify what families teachers can acknowledge, what supports can be provided to LGBTQ students, or what speech is exempt from this categorical ban even as it threatens teachers' jobs and licenses.

“The Board of Education’s move to target individual teachers' jobs and licenses is another cruel attack from an administration that has spent months punching down at Florida’s LGBTQ youth and families,” said Joe Saunders, Equality Florida Senior Political Director. “Qualified, effective teachers are fleeing the profession in Florida thanks to the constant politicization of their roles and discrediting of their characters by the DeSantis Administration. Rather than help to clarify the Don’t Say LGBTQ laws scope, the Board of Education has taken this bigoted law to yet another extreme, threatening teachers if they dare to acknowledge LGBTQ families in the classroom. This escalation in deference to the far right agenda of the governor makes our schools less inclusive -- and less safe.”

The rule also directly contradicts recent interpretations of the Don’t Say LGBTQ law’s scope offered in a ruling from federal judge Allen Winsor. In his September 29 ruling granting the state’s motion to dismiss a case challenging the Don’t Say LGBTQ law, Judge Winsor repeatedly pointed to the responsibility of school districts to determine what teachers may or may not teach, writing "The law is enforced against school districts—not individual teachers. Fla. Stat. § 1001.42(8)(c)7.b.(I)-(II). With or without the law, school districts direct teachers as to what they may and may not teach."Today’s rule further shifts the burden of interpreting the vague and sweeping law to teachers.

Another rule passed today targets school districts with policies that allow transgender students safe access to bathrooms and locker rooms. While not denying those facilities to transgender and nonbinary students, the new rule requires school districts notify parents in the district if they have a policy allowing bathrooms or locker rooms to be separated on a basis "other than biological sex at birth."

“The Board of Education’s facilities separation rule does not and cannot prevent transgender students from accessing facilities aligned with their gender identity — we know Federal law and the constitution protect these rights. Florida school districts have been following federal law for more than a decade, establishing policies we know will continue to work long after this politically-motivated proposed rule. What it does do is attempt to bully and intimidate districts that are providing these accommodations. Ron DeSantis’ war on transgender Floridians must end. All students deserve access to school facilities that are inclusive and safe,” added Saunders.

Nearly 100 pro-equality advocates attended the Board of Education meeting today in Orlando, and over 1,000 people sent messages to board members in support of teachers, families, and LGBTQ students.

These rules come in the wake of other attacks on LGBTQ students by the Department of Education. Last year, the department acquiesced to DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, scrubbing its website of anti-bullying resources aimed at improving the mental and physical health of LGBTQ students. Newly appointed Education Commission Manny Diaz, a former state senator who sponsored the Don’t Say LGBTQ law, wasted no time wielding the Department against LGBTQ students. In July he issued a memo instructing school districts to ignore Title IX nondiscrimination protections for transgender students, threatening costly penalties even though federal law and case law require accommodations for transgender youth.

The Board of Education is just one of a number of state agencies being weaponized against the LGBTQ community by Governor DeSantis and his administration. Florida’s Medicaid agency (the Agency for Health Care Administration) recently created a rule ending Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care in the state. The Board of Medicine is currently undergoing a similar rulemaking process that could threaten the licenses of health care professionals for providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth. And in July, the governor weaponized the Department of Business and Professional Regulation against an LGBTQ-owned small business in Miami, threatening to strip the restaurant of its liquor license after they hosted a drag performance at their weekly Sunday Brunch.

Despite these new attacks by the DeSantis Administration, LGBTQ-inclusive school district policies are still supported by federal protections that exist to provide safe, welcoming spaces for all students. The Biden Administration has issued guidance instructing schools to comply with Title IX protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, which is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity. School districts must continue supporting LGBTQ students, creating safe, inclusive environments, and implementing the bigoted Don’t Say LGBTQ law as narrowly as possible to mitigate the harms it is inflicting on students and families.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.




A Fun Way to Take A Break during Wedding Planning!

Check out Billy Eichner's new film "BROS", premiering this week: Hilarious romantic comedy with all-LGBTQ+ cast!

Bros Film 2022


Bros Film

Press Release from HRC July 18 2022


Delphine Luneau | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | 202-573-6006

Human Rights Campaign Urges Federal Lawmakers to Pass Bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act

Legislation Would Repeal 1990s-Era ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ That Was Later Rendered Unenforceable By Supreme Court, Affirms Obergefell v. Hodges

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today marked the introduction and urged the passage of the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act in Congress. This legislation would guarantee the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage s in the federal code, repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and affirms that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. HRC is urging federal lawmakers to move forward with passage of this important legislation.

In response to the introduction of the bill, HRC Interim President Joni Madison issued the following statement:

“The Defense of Marriage Act — which excluded legally married same-sex couples from accessing the federal rights, benefits, and obligations of marriage — is a stain upon our nation and deserves to be relegated to the trash bin of History. With the Respect for Marriage Act, Congress has the opportunity to right this wrong by creating an inclusive law that also standardizes the mechanism for evaluating when a marriage should be given federal recognition and affirms that public acts, records, and judicial proceedings should be honored across this country.”

Key Provisions of the Bill

The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that marriage equality is protected nationally through several provisions:

  • Repealing the 1990s era Defense of Marriage Act. Passed in 1996, it discriminated in two important ways. First, Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples. Second, Section 3 of the law carves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations and rulings applicable to all other married people—thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections. DOMA was rendered unenforceable, in two stages, by the Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor v. United States ruling and the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling.
  • Establishing that “place of celebration” is the standard of recognition for federal benefits of a same-sex marriage. Under this provision, if marriage equality was ever to cease to be recognized in a given state, same-sex couples who travel to get married in another state – one where same-sex marriages are still recognized – would still retain federal marriage benefits.
  • Affirming that public acts, records and proceedings should be recognized by all states. Adoption orders, divorce decrees, and other public acts must be honored by all states consistent with the Full Faith and Credit clause of the US Constitution.
  • Codifying the federal protections conferred by the Obergefell and Windsor rulings. The landmark ruling stated that bans on marriage equality are unconstitutional.

More Than Two-Thirds of People Support Marriage Equality

The latest survey from PRRI this year on support for LGBTQ+ rights showed nearly seven in ten Americans (68%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally. Support has increased by 14 percentage points since 2014 (54%). Republicans are now nearly evenly divided over same-sex marriage (48% support, 50% oppose), while 81% of Democrats and 73% of independents favor marriage equality. Today, majorities of most religious groups favor marriage equality. White evangelical Protestants (35%) and Latter-day Saints (46%) remain the only major religious groups with less than majority support for same-sex marriage. 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.