LGBT equality in America: A year after the Supreme Court decision
When the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide last year, LGBT communities around world celebrated this milestone event of LGBT equality in America.
A year after the landmark decision, where does America stand on LGBT equality now?
LGBT equality in America: An overview of the Obergefell case
When Jim Obergefell and his partner John Arthur decided they wanted to get hitched, they could not get married in their home state of Ohio.
That’s why they were married on a Maryland tarmac instead. Unfortunately, when Arthur died in 2013, Obergefell discovered that the state of Ohio would not recognize their marriage.
That’s why when Obergefell filed a lawsuit, he became the lead plaintiff of the case Obergefell vs. Hodges. The rest, as they say, is LGBT history.
LGBT equality in America: Increase in gay marriages
A new Gallup poll released Wednesday estimates about 123,000 same-sex marriages have taken place since the ruling. The number of LGBT individuals married to a same-sex spouse has increased 22 percent.
At the time of the historic decision last year, gay marriage was already legal in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Thanks to the high court, the decision struck down same-sex marriage prohibitions in the remaining 13 states.
Gallup reported that the rate of same-sex marriage has grown in all states since then, and significantly in those 13 states.
LGBT equality in America: Legal backlash and gun violence
However, though the same-sex marriage ruling is enforced throughout the United States, the South remains largely conservative.
Same-sex couples by and large are able to marry in the South. But LGBT people in the region still face discrimination as a result of state laws that undermine their rights.
Conservative lawmakers are pushing back against LGBT rights wherever and whenever they can, currently focusing on bathroom discrimination laws against transgenders.
Then the unthinkable happened in Orlando.
LGBT equality in America: After Orlando
In the middle of Pride month, Jim Obergefell found himself feeling “utter devastation and heartache” after the mass shooting in Orlando.
In a recent interview with Yahoo News, Obergefell said: “We need our allies to speak up when someone says something that is wrong, something that is hateful; and we need elected officials who fight for every single American, not just a few.”
“I want to believe that this horrific hate crime, horrific terrorist act, will inspire people to look deep inside and to think about what they say, what they do, how they behave, how they treat the people in their lives, the people around them,” he said.
Poignantly, the hashtag #lovewins— used to celebrate LGBT equality when the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling came out— has become a rallying cry to unite the LGBT community after the Orlando mass shooting.
America has made greate progress with LGBT equality as of the past year. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before true equality is achieved.
“For me, it’s education. It’s speaking up. It’s telling stories,” Obergefell said of LGBT equality in America.