Today is truly a day of joyous celebration and thanksgiving. It’s a day that I am honestly surprised has come as quickly as it has. Just over 11 years ago, Massachusetts first allowed same-sex couples to be legally married. This was less than a year after Lawrence v. Texas struck down bans nationwide on sexual activity between same-sex partners. In 2012, one of my home states, Washington, was the first (along with Maryland and Maine) to legalize same-sex marriage through popular vote. But when we moved to Illinois, our marriage was no longer legally recognized until this state finally passed equality. Exactly two years ago today, the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. And today, same-sex marriage has been legalized in all 50 states and all US territories.
But we are not done.
While I am elated that my marriage to Ryan is finally legally recognized nationwide, we cannot be done.
We cannot be done while it is now legal in 29 states to get married on Sunday and be fired from your job on Monday for being gay.
We cannot be done while 32 states permit discrimination in housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
We cannot be done while our trans* siblings have to worry about finding a bathroom they can use while they fight to have their gender identity reflected on basic government documents.
We cannot be done while 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and many cannot find safe and welcoming shelters.
We cannot be done while countless youth take their own lives because they have been told by their parents, bullies, churches, and society that they are not “normal.”
This battle has been won, but there are many, many more to fight.
I am extremely grateful that this day has finally come and for all the work that has been done to precipitate its arrival. I honestly believe that this movement was good for the LGBTQ community overall in gaining attention and acceptance. But there is so much more we have to do.
This Sunday, Chicago, Seattle, and many other cities will celebrate LGBTQ Pride with parades and festivals on the 46th anniversary of the raid on the Stonewall Inn and the subsequent riots. It will be a joyous celebration indeed, because this year we have more to celebrate than ever before. Let us rejoice this weekend, because this truly is a time for celebration. But on Monday, we must ask ourselves “what’s next” and get to work.