URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A University of Illinois professor played a role in writing a historic piece of legislation. President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act last week. It guarantees same-sex and interracial marriages will forever be seen as legal.

Law professor Robin Fretwell Wilson helped people on both sides of the argument come to a compromise. She says making sure their opinions and their fears were heard was vital to the success of the law.

Wilson says after the overturning of Roe v Wade, some religious groups felt their beliefs were on the way to being ignored. So, she worked on the religious liberty clause which was put in the respect for marriage act. It states nonprofit religious organizations won’t be required to provide services for same-sex marriages. Wilson says it’s a sentiment that allows for both sides to celebrate a step in the right direction together.

“There was a big love fest for each other and a recognition that we can cross lines and actually we do best when we try to protect the other person and when we’re trying to make good on their fears and put those to rest, they do the same thing for the other side,” said Fretwell.

Wilson says she and a group of scholars have been working on same-sex marriage since 2008. Wilson says this act shows that civil rights don’t always have to clash. They can instead work as puzzle pieces — fitting together.