First lady invites 3 Mass, NH residents to Biden's State of the Union
WASHINGTON - Three New Englanders will be guests in First Lady Jill Biden's viewing box Tuesday night for President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.
Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, a couple from Northampton, are being recognized for the pioneering role they played in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage.
"The Nortonsmiths' advocacy work as plaintiffs in Goodridge vs. MA Dept. of Public Health led to their state becoming the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage," the White House said in a statement. "They celebrated this victory by getting married on the first day that same-sex marriage licenses were issued in Massachusetts in 2004."
In December, the Northonsmiths spoke at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House marking the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which officially requires the federal government to recognize same-sex and interracial marriages.
Jill Biden's guest from Newton, New Hampshire is Doug Griffin. After losing his 20-year-old daughter Courtney in 2014 to a fentanyl overdose, he dedicated his life to raising awareness about addiction and helping those with substance use disorders. He wrote a letter to the Bidens in 2021 "to share his family's painful journey."
"Addressing stigma associated with addiction, raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl, going after drug traffickers' profits fueling the production of synthetic opioids, and dramatically expanding access treatment for substance use disorders are key focuses of President Biden's National Drug Control Strategy - a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic," the White House said.
Others in the first lady's box include U2 singer Bono, Paul Pelosi and Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the mass shooter at the Monterey Park Lunar New Year celebrations.
Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey will also be in attendance for the speech as a guest of Congressman Richard Neal.
CBS News will air the State of the Union as a special report, anchored by "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell. The speech begins at 9 p.m. ET and will be streamed online on the CBS News streaming network.
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