WASHINGTON– Today President Joe Biden signed the Respect Marriage Act into law.
We spoke exclusively to Los Angeles-based Lawrence and Michael Broughton just before we headed to the White House to witness the historic moment.
“Now we’re here,” exclaimed Lawrence. Michael added, “It’s very surreal.”
Lawrence continued, “We are part of the history making process. It’s exciting!” Michael agreed, “It’s very exciting.”
We chatted with Lawrence and Michael via Zoom from their Washington DC hotel.
The Lake Balboa couple thought they were celebrating the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act from their home today, until they got a call from a gay rights advocate associated with the White House inviting them as guests. Both now get a place in the front row of history.
“We’re going to have rainbow flags and everything,” Lawrence said.
It’s a sign of progress for Lawrence, who served in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“For 24 years I had to hide who I am on three missions in the Middle East. I had to hide who I was,” Lawrence said of his time in the military.
“To see this law actually materialize as law … if we have to move to Arkansas or Minnesota or Idaho or Montana, we don’t have to worry about people saying our marriage doesn’t matter,” Lawrence continued .
The Respect for Marriage Bill, recently passed by Congress, requires individual states to recognize marriages of same-sex couples and mixed-race couples lawfully contracted in another state.
Proponents say that same-sex marriage has become a thing of the past after the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges,” noting that the 14th Amendment requires all states to license same-sex marriages.
Lawrence and Michael have been together for almost 20 years and married five years ago in Las Vegas.
“This has further validated our love and so many other couples within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum,” Michael said. “We will always fight for sure, but this is a step in the right direction.”
Today, the pair shed a light on same-sex couples of color via social media.
In 2017 they launched Black Gay Weddings. Her Instagram page Black Gay Weddings has more than 60,000 followers.
“They see how they met and one of the things we hear from our followers is that we give them hope because they see what’s possible,” Michael said.
Michael and Lawrence are launching a Black Gay Weddings magazine on January 7th that will be available in digital and print.
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https://abc7.com/same-sex-couple-witness-respect-for-marriage-act-signing-equality/12566420/ Respect for Marriage Act: Los Angeles couple invited to White House to witness signing