What LGBTQ Americans have (and haven’t) gained since the recognition of marriage equality

What LGBTQ Americans have (and haven’t) gained since the recognition of marriage equality
On June 26, 2015, the White House was lit with the colors of the rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.Photo: Pete Souza / White House

Six years ago today, the Supreme Court issued their decision in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, which required every state to let two people of any genders get married if they want to.

Millions of people gained access to the right to marry who they love across all 50 states.

Related: Seniors helped drive marriage equality. Now they are benefitting from it.

“The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority at the time.

As the ACLU and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) explain, the Obergefell ruling was just one of several landmark moments to come in the LGBTQ movement.

It took many other sacrifices and losses to make this victory possible.

In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Today, all Americans join the LGBTQ community to celebrate six years since marriage equality was unequivocally declared the law of the land.  The historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges transformed the lives of LGBTQ couples around the nation – affirming the right of marriage for all Americans, regardless of who you are or whom you love.

“Indeed, we are endlessly proud that today LGBTQ families can live openly and with dignity in every state in the union, blessing our nation with the beautiful love and devotion they share,” Pelosi said.

Understandably, this day brings many people happy feelings.

“After decades of protest, and organizing, and the determination of so many to never give up, the Supreme Court declared marriage equality a reality in America,” President Barack Obama reflected on the day last year.

“As I made some comments in the Rose Garden, I looked at so many young members of my staff, and I noticed that they and all the people I saw on TV gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court shared the same expression on their faces: joy.”

Here’s some people feeling joy today.

Despite the joy that this historic moment bought, there is still several lawmakers, judges, hate groups and activists organizing to discriminate against people based on who they love or what gender they are.

Many, including Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, are still hoping to overturn the ruling and take away marriage equality. At the same time, Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff of the name case in the many lawsuits that led to the Supreme Court decision, continues to advocate for LGBTQ rights, even after helping to win the right to marry for so many.

While the Supreme Court ruled last year that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal in public education under Title IX, state legislatures have led an unprecedented attack on basic rights for LGBTQ people, but especially trans people. Several states have banned trans youth from participating in sports, while some have restricted their ability to use public restrooms, go to certain businesses, and even receive medical care.

Without the Equality Act, discrimination solely on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will continue to be legally permissible in many sectors of life, including housing, employment, and credit.

Recognizing today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged, “There will be a vote on the Equality Act.” But a vote does not guarantee it will pass the divided Senate, especially as long as the filibuster remains in place.

“Democrats in Congress are fully committed to enacting the landmark Equality Act,” Speaker Pelosi pledged.

“If we have to get rid of the filibuster to pass bills like the #EqualityAct, we should,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted.

Even though the Equality Act does not solve all problems LGBTQ Americans face, it would be the first step toward protecting the legal rights of many marginalized people across the country.

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