One Year After Marriage Equality Ruling, Fight For LGBT Equal Rights Continues
A year ago today, the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, signifying a major shift in lgbt equal rights. It was an event for history books, and a win for the LGBT community, but by no means was it the end of the fight. A year later, transgender individuals are still fighting for such basic rights as access to appropriate bathrooms, and in many states, a person can still be fired for being gay or trans.
In North Carolina, a law called the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, more commonly known as HB2, was passed in March. The law (PDF) was described by legislators as a means to protect the privacy of women and children, by requiring individuals to use the restrooms associated with their biological sex. However, ‘biological sex’ sex’ was defined as the sex “…stated on a person’s birth certificate.”
This, of course, results in some transgender individuals being expected to use a restroom that doesn’t match their identity or appearance. It has also been argued that the passage of the bill encourages members of the public to confront others entering bathrooms or dressing rooms, who didn’t match that person’s view of “masculine” or “feminine.” This, again, affects LGBT individuals disproportionately.
Aside from this most obvious aspect, as one state legislator warned, the bill also affected other nondiscrimination laws across the state, gutting LGBT protections against unfair hiring and housing practices, among others.
This bill eliminates every non-discrimination ordinance in the state. #WeAreNotThis pic.twitter.com/coNYYrOM7x
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) March 23, 2016
One company spoke out almost immediately; Target reminded the public that transgender customers were welcome to use the appropriate bathrooms in their stores and was hit with a boycott.
Doubling down, the American Family Association followed the murder of 49 people in a LGBT club in Orlando with a call for more people to join in the boycott, asking for 1,000 signatures for each person confirmed dead in the attack.
Target isn’t the only business to oppose the law. Bull McCabe’s Irish Pub, in Durham, North Carolina, for instance, has posted signs declaring their opposition (below), and Refuge Restrooms is crowdsourcing a list of safe bathrooms for transgender people, not only across the state, but across America.
The ongoing battle isn’t just for equal rights in arenas, where those in the LGBT community have never had them before. There are still groups battling to undo marriage equality.
One day before what has been termed LGBT Equality Day, the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision, for instance, the National Organization for Marriage held an event in Washington D.C. to oppose equal marriage rights. NOM used the march to call for repeal of marriage rights, and to oppose the move for equal rights for transgender people.
“Not only will we protest that illegitimate and anti-constitutional decision, but we’ll protest the efforts of President Obama to redefine gender as he pushes the gender ideology of LGBT extremists. And we will call on Congress to enact critical legal protections for Americans who continue to believe in the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
In Alabama, Chief Justice Roy Moore is still fighting for the right not to grant equal access to marriage rights to LGBT people. He’s facing charges for ethics violations, and the Liberty Counsel (which also defended Kim Davis when she fought to be able to deny marriage licenses to LGBT couples) is asking for the charges to be dismissed, saying that Moore’s order to probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court ruling is outside the Judicial Ethics Committee’s authority.
Today, America celebrates the progress made for LGBT rights. It’s not just the anniversary of the marriage equality decision, but the striking down of laws forbidding gay sex, and the repeal of DOMA, the Federal law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.
#LGBTEquality Day is a celebration of #SCOTUS victories that declared, once and for all, #LoveIsLove! pic.twitter.com/4gcJb6YTtj
— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) June 26, 2016
It’s certainly a valid reason to celebrate. However, it’s important to remember the fight for LGBT equal rights goes on — and to keep fighting until everyone is equal under the law.
[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]