Sam Smith gives tender performance at White House to celebrate signing of Respect for Marriage Act

Sam Smith

Sam Smith performed their iconic hit “Stay With Me” in front of the White House to help celebrate the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect the rights of same-sex and interracial couples.

The Oscar-winning singer performed alongside Cyndi Lauper at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the presidential residence after Joe Biden signed the historic act.

The president was joined by first lady, Jill Biden, vice president Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer, as well as non-binary drag queen Marti G Cummings and countless other activists who witnessed the bill being enacted.

Sam Smith reportedly said after the White House performance: “We’ve had a pretty special day, we just sang at the White House today which was insane and I just want to give a shoutout to president Biden and everyone involved.”

After performing her hit “True Colours”, Lauper told the crowd: “This time, love wins.”

“For once, our families, mine and a lot of my friends, people you know, sometimes your neighbours, we can rest easy tonight because our families are validated,” she added.

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“Because now we are allowed to love who we love – which sounds odd to say, but Americans can now love who we love.”

The bill, which officially repeals the Defense of Marriage Act – a 1996 law that specifically defined marriage as only existing between a man and a woman – aims to protect same-sex marriage by ensuring that any marriage valid in the couple’s home state is considered valid by the US government and will be recognised by every state. 

While the Respect for Marriage Act does not fully legalise same-sex marriage across the US, it will protect existing unions if the right to same-sex marriage was ever struck down by the Supreme Court in the future, which LGBTQ+ Americans feared after Roe v Wade fell in June.

“Today is a good day,” Biden said in an address after signing the act. “Today, America takes a vital step toward equality, liberty and justice. Not just for some, but for everyone.”

He added that one of the most “profound decisions a person can make” is to marry the person they love, adding it was a shame that the US “had denied interracial couples and same-sex couples” vital legal protections.

“We failed to treat them with equal dignity and respect,” he said.

Joe Biden, surrounded by politicians and activists, puts pen to paper on a White House table to sign the Respect for Marriage Act.
Joe Biden signs the Respect for Marriage Act in a historical win for LGBTQ+ couples. (Getty)

The LGBTQ+ community celebrated not just the passage of the bill on Tuesday (13 December), but Sam Smith’s moving performance afterwards.

California representative Nanette D. Barragán tweeted, praising Smith’s performance, adding: “Another big step to ensure that Americans can live freely and love who they love, no matter their race, gender, or sexuality.”

Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery commented that Smith’s performance signalled that the “White House vibe has changed from a few years ago” when Donald Trump was in power.

Bendery added: “A funny thing I wanted to share is that as soon as Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, like not even two seconds after, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” began blasting, rainbow lights were spinning + the WH South Lawn was a big ol’ gay club.”

Other Twitter users commented that Smith’s “Stay With Me” is a “beautiful song” that complements the historic moment.

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