Posted on June 21, 2016
Remembering Orlando on the one-year anniversary of marriage equality
Nearly one year ago, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and made marriage equality the law of the land, with the majority affirming that the Constitution grants LGBT people equal dignity in the eyes of the law.
As we neared this historic one-year anniversary we were struck by tragedy. While we celebrate a year of marriage equality, we also mourn the victims of the horrific LGBT hate crime in Orlando that took the lives of 49 people, and are reminded of how far we have to go before LGBT people can be fully, and safely, free in America, and before we can truly be an equal society free from hate.
The threats to LGBT people’s lives and freedoms have not just come from home-grown terrorists with guns. They have come from right-wing, anti-gay legislators at the local, state and federal level who, since the marriage equality decision, have become even more forceful in their fight to take away rights from and marginalize the LGBT community. In the first two months of 2016, twice as many bills aimed at discriminating against transgendered individuals were introduced in state legislatures as were introduced in all of 2015. Sickeningly, 23 of these 44 bills target children. And in March, North Carolina passed HB2, a measure specifically designed to discriminate against the transgender community attempting to shame them in public facilities, forcing them to use misgendered bathrooms.
Right-wing conservative extremists are also attempting to pass Religious Freedom and Restoration Acts (RFRA) in state legislatures across the country. Under the guise of “protecting religious freedom,” these laws allow individuals and corporations to use religion as an excuse to discriminate. These laws as they are currently being proposed could be used to refuse medical treatment based on sexual orientation, justify discrimination in hiring, and allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals.
And in 28 states, it’s still legal to discriminate against LGBT people in areas like hiring, employment and housing. So while people may be free to get married, they are still at risk of being fired for their sexual orientation and having no legal recourse. That is why CREDO has championed a federal employment nondiscrimination act prohibiting this form of discrimination in the workplace in all 50 states.
Right now CREDO has several critical campaigns you can join in the fight for equality:
- Fighting against RFRAs
- Demanding the NBA move the 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina following the passage of HB2
- Asking the NCAA to stop hosting events in North Carolina, where it is scheduled to hold 20 tournament games in the next two years, following the passage of HB2
- Calling on the Federal Trade Commission to ban the dangerous, ineffective and unnecessary practice of conversion therapy that attempts to changes people’s sexual orientation
- Demanding Congress pass the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections to all Americans
At CREDO, we’re observing the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision with heavy hearts, mourning those we lost to hate in Orlando and acknowledging how much more work there is to be done.