Reflection on Respect for Marriage Act

December 15, 2022
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication

The following message was sent to the campus community Thursday, Dec. 15. 

The University of Hartford remains committed to the ongoing work of creating a more equitable and just campus community and society. It is fitting that we celebrate and draw inspiration when we witness progress toward these goals.

On December 13, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law. It provides federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages, requiring federal and state recognition of these unions, and officially repeals the Defense of Marriage Act.

In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) decision that restricted individual reproductive rights, experts expressed a heightened concern that other Supreme Court decisions based on privacy may be subject to the same fate as Roe v. Wade (1973). The Respect for Marriage Act provides some measure of protection for same-sex and interracial marriages in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and Loving v. Virginia (1967).

The Respect for Marriage Act receiving approval in the House 258-169 and the Senate 61-36 is cause for celebration. While it affords limited protection should Obergefell and/or Loving be overturned, it is significant that the bill had wide and bipartisan support in the legislature. That President Biden celebrated its passage at the White House while signing it into law, is affirming to all those who fear their fundamental right to marry may be in danger. And that so many in society—including our UHart colleagues and students—are willing to stand in support for the rights of others, provides hope to us all.

Jane Horvath
Associate Professor of Economics
Special Assistant to the President on LGBTQ+
Co-chair President’s Steering Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion