If Marriage Equality Becomes Law of the Land, What’s Next for You?
Following that election cycle, nine states, three Native American tribes and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex marriage. But as progress is made, a key concern moving forward is that marriage does not become a right without a constituency to enjoy it.
“In some parts of the country, a couple can travel to another state, get married, have the honeymoon of their dreams, and come home, and if they put a picture of their wedding on their desk at work, it risks getting them fired simply because of who they are,” Carey said. “Just because you win equality in one area or another doesn’t mean that equality is experienced by everyone.”
The next few years will forge a new frontier for LGBT equality, as the battle moves from marriage to ending discrimination and fulfilling basic human rights.
“One of the positive impacts of marriage equality is that it has been an educational tool, but the movement is clogged up by marriage,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told Campus Progress. “The media and policy makers seem to think it is the most important thing for us, so it is harder to get them to focus on other things.”
Still, the attention from the marriage fight has been a fundraising blessing.
“There is no doubt that our organization has taken a big leap budget-wise and size-wise in the last four years,” Steve Ralls, director of communications for Immigration Equality, told Campus Progress, noting that victories on marriage will lead to new challenges. “Our board is actually involved in a strategic planning process to look at financially and structurally what the organization’s position will be a year from now.”
What happens next is critical. “You’re going to see the budgets of a lot of national and state LGBT groups just wither,” Keisling said. “We’ll have to figure out what to do.”
A host of issues that make up the core of the LGBT struggle are still waiting for justice, including addressing drastic underemployment, homelessness, bullying and suicide, fair housing, paid sick leave, safe schools, asylum and detention issues for LGBT immigrants, and presenting great opportunities for change during Obama’s second term.
“You have seen a tipping point in recent years where this became a fight not just of the LGBT community itself, but of straight allies,” Dison said. “People see this as the civil rights movement of their time.”