The marriage fight is effectively over. So what’s next?

The news on Monday from the Supreme Court is without a doubt a step forward for LGBT equality. Loving couples across North Carolina — and those in 29 other states and the District of Columbia — will have the cloud of government-sanctioned discrimination finally lifted from their relationships.

In 20 other states, couples will continue to wait — their rights and privileges denied. It will be up to advocates to continue pushing district and appellate courts for action in the absence of a major decision from the Supreme Court.

Ultimately, though, the tide has turned. For centuries, LGBT people have felt the weight of government oppression and control over our lives, our loves and our bodies. No more. The march forward is clear and there is no going back. Soon, a supermajority of states will have legal same-sex marriage. And, no matter how loud they kick and scream, our opponents will soon come to the realization that their fight against marriage equality is over.

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But, marriage equality won’t end all of the oppression, discrimination, prejudice and bigotry forced upon our community. The same right-wing groups that so passionately opposed marriage equality will choose to engage on other issues. Indeed, they already have — most notably in their efforts attacking transgender people and trans-inclusive non-discrimination efforts.

That’s why advocates across North Carolina and the nation will have to determine what their priorities are for addressing these myriad issues — like employment and housing discrimination, just to name two of countless others — often overshadowed by the last decade’s debate on marriage.

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To those on the wrong side of history, I say it’s time for you to hang it up. Move on. Find happiness in your life and quit creating havoc in others.

To those on the right side history, I ask, what’s next? Where will this movement go? How will we address so many issues left on the sidelines as the bulk of our movement’s dollars and resources were mobilized for marriage?

In the days, weeks and months ahead, I’ll look forward to the answers and to reporting and chronicling even further advances in LGBT equality.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

7 Replies to “The marriage fight is effectively over. So what’s next?”

  1. Great insight and good question. I suspect many leaders in the LGBT community are asking the same question this morning.

  2. An important question for us all. Equality Federation and our partners in the states have been thinking about this question and preparing for a couple years now. Rebecca Isaacs laid out some of our thinking this spring: http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/06/12/op-ed-lgbt-movement-after-marriage

  3. The next battle line in the war has already been drawn. The so-called “Religious Freedom” battle is underway. Conservative religious groups want the “right to discriminate”. We’ll win the war, but the fight is far from over.

  4. The Talibaptists won’t be slowed in their efforts to enforce their will on the rest of us. And they are well financed. In dealing with ideologies the gay community must continue educating those that will listen and stop trying to convert those that won’t. Speaking out with our dollars and our votes is an effective way of making a difference.

  5. What is next is a fully inclusive LGBT Civil Rights Act based on the language that is in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It would be terrific if simply adding the words sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act could be done. However, there is real fear that the radical right GOP will attempt to dissect and dilute the 1964 Civil Rights Act if given he chance. That would be the reason for mirror legislation for LGBT Americans. Time for the grassroots community to take to the streets, propel the movement, frame the issues and demand the results we want.

  6. If my gender marker on my state ID matched my appearance, my true self, then there would be no trans issue. As it stands now, I’m neither or both, depending on the wishes of the state. I’m not a woman, but I can’t go topless. The state has denied me ANY gender. My ID may have an M on it but I have no male rights any longer. But as a woman, I have no proof. I carry a letter from my psych doc stating that I’m not disguising my appearance for illegal reasons.

    How about tackling that single letter on my state issued ID card. I can get a passport, Medicare card and even a voter registration card with the correct marker, why not an NC ID?

  7. One of our fights against discriminatory fear-based government bans against equality will be fighting to bring down the gay blood ban. We need to especially share these concerns with the President and administration along with the FDA.

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