The Fight for Equality is Far From Over

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Published January 31, 2016
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The Montclarion
Photo Courtesy: Kellie Parker (Flickr)

Since the Supreme Court’s decision on Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States in June 2015, it has become a commonly held belief that the LGBTQ community has finally gained equal rights. In fact, on Jan. 20, GLAAD released their annual Accelerating Acceptance report, which found that 50 percent of non-LGBT Americans strongly agree that gay people now have the same rights as everybody else.

While this may be a commonly held belief, it is anything but true. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, 39 percent of Americans still opposed same-sex marriage. With people opposing this ceremony that so many men and women easily participate in, it may feel to same-sex couples that their marriages are less valid than that of their straight counterparts. That feeling is only perpetuated when entire states, such as Tennessee, work to invalidate the legal decision made in Obergefell v. Hodges.

In our society, marriage is seen as an important aspect of defining love, one from which straight people have typically not been excluded. Now that people of all genders have the right to marry as well, everyone should be accepting of this right and supportive to LGBTQ individuals who choose to marry.

The Atlantic reported that in 28 states, a gay individual could be discriminated against while looking for an apartment, applying for a job or buying goods. For example, Queerty, an online publication which centers around the LGBTQ community, recently reported that a transgender woman and her wife were denied housing when the landlord said “their ‘unique relationship’ would become a ‘town focus.’”

Additionally, Arkansas Online reported that 22 states are pushing for the right to refuse serving gay couples. This is along the same lines as not baking same-sex couples wedding cakes because one does not support same-sex marriage. Until one doesn’t have to hide their identity or their same-sex partner in doing these small things to support themselves, we don’t have equal rights.

After the passage of same-sex marriage, many people shifted their focus to the rights of the transgender community. One of the big issues facing the transgender community is exclusionary healthcare insurances.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are still 11 states that have explicit policies banning trans-exclusions in both private insurance and Medicaid coverage, thus making healthcare coverage extremely difficult to find for members of the transgender community. This is problematic since transgender individuals need this coverage the most due to the surgeries and hormones they may use to transition.

At this point in American history, the LGBTQ community does not have equal rights. In order to help the LGBTQ community reach equality, individuals need to vote in the upcoming election for referendums and politicians that support LGBTQ equality. The results of the election can make a large impact for those in the LGBTQ community who must face inequality each day.

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