President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect Marriage Act Tuesday, which protects same-sex and interracial marriage under federal law. To celebrate the move, Cyndi Lauper and Sam Smith appeared at the signing ceremony at the White House to perform “True Colors” and “Stay With Me,” respectively.
“Love wins this time,” Lauper said before diving into True Colors. With no backing track, the artist belted out her famous “Don’t be fear” refrain, backed only by acoustic guitar and dulcimer. Towards the end of the performance, after a long high-pitched beep, the audience erupted in applause before Lauper said, fist raised, “Power to all the people.”
According to Lauper, released in 1986, “True Colors” was inspired in part by her boyfriend Gregory Natal, who died of complications from HIV/AIDS. In 2008, she founded the True Colors Fund, a nonprofit focused on ending homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth.
Meanwhile, Smith and her backing band turned up in all black to perform a soulful rendition of “Stay With Me.” That track helped Smith become a popular queer artist in 2014, while more recently the singer became the first publicly non-binary artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 with her Kim Petras duet “Unholy.”
The Respect for Marriage Act follows the repeal of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court in 2022. In issuing her decision, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a concurrent opinion, suggesting that the court also hear Obergefell v. Hodges to reconsider the 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
“Today I am signing the Respect Marriage Act — a landmark civil rights law that honors the courage and sacrifice of generations of couples who have fought for marriage equality and equal rights,” President Biden said.
.@SamSmith performs “Stay With Me” at the White House Marriage Respect Signing Ceremony
Full video here: pic.twitter.com/neFTucAYSa
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 13, 2022
Today I am signing the Respect for Marriage Act—a landmark civil rights law that recognizes the courage and sacrifice of generations of couples who have fought for marriage equality and equal rights.
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 13, 2022