I don’t mean to belittle or reduce the momentous achievement, but it is important to realize that even though we now have marriage equality, there is still plenty of discrimination, mistrust, and misinformation that damage individuals much more than the inability to get married. Legal marriage is only a step in the right direction, but marriage is not and never was the end goal; the end goal is an equal society. Now that we have marriage equality (in name), here are some other things that we can work on that are just as important.
- Let’s work toward fixing the fact that over 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, many of whom are thrown out of their homes by their own parents. If you want more info on LGBT homelessness in general, go to nationalhomeless.org/issues/lgbt. In fact, we should be looking more closely at ending homelessness for everyone!
- I'd also like to point out that several states still allow JOB and HOUSING DISCRIMINATION based on sexual orientation. Given the SCOTUS ruling, I imagine these laws will soon not stand on a federal level, but it may be a long fight. Federal contractors are not allowed to fire someone based on their sexual orientation, due to an executive order signed by President Obama in June 2014, but it is still legal in 32 states to harass someone at work or fire them for being LGBT. Legislation has been introduced to change this at the federal level in the form of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). It got through the House in 2014, but hasn’t made any progress in the Senate. Apparently, there are issues surrounding how to treat religious exemptions to the bill.
- Despite the fact that LGBT parents prove just as capable and more capable of raising healthy children, there is still a big stigma both of having gay parents and of gay parents having children. Not only does legal discrimination provide a roadblock for LGBT parents looking to adopt, but children can also get bullied for having gay/bi/lesbian parents.
NOTE: For both bullets 2 and 3, you can view a map that gives a quick snapshot of adoption and employment laws at hrc.org/state_maps
Another thing to realize is that there will likely be a backlash, especially in extremely red states. Whether through religion, far right-wing conservatives, or your relatives, people will be out in a rage over this ruling. In true right-wing form, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are already on their way to fighting this ruling, according to a CNN article. This will likely be a talking point in the 2016 election, so don’t think this is over.
Thanks for swinging by, and I hope you enjoyed reading my rambles.