Building on Marriage Equality, Our Next Steps to Protect LGBT Americans

Building on Marriage Equality, Our Next Steps to Protect LGBT Americans

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Photo: The Columbian
Photo: The Columbian

By U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Medium

The Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges marriage equality case was a truly historic moment in our country’s history, and a victory for love and for equality. After decades of fighting for equal rights, LGBT Americans were finally guaranteed nationwide marriage equality and the protections and responsibilities that all married couples enjoy. And across the country, we have seen loving couples finally able to join in the bonds of marriage.

From rainbow sidewalks in Seattle, to an illuminated White House, to many celebrations of pride from coast to coast I am so proud of how far our country has come, and it has been great to see such an outpouring of support for the LGBT community for this victory.

But, the ruling didn’t end discrimination or harassment against LGBT Americans. As we continue to celebrate marriage equality, we must also look for ways to build on this momentum and deliver on our nation’s promise of equality for all.

In far too many places in this country, an LGBT American can still be fired from their job endure bullying and harassment in school, or be denied service in shops and restaurants simply because of who they are or who they love. Some states protect this prejudice and discrimination under the guise of religious freedom, but these state laws have proven to be little more than licenses to discriminate. That is wrong, and it is not consistent with the values of our country.

So we have more work to do, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to fight this discrimination and advance equal treatment for all.

Justice Kennedy concluded in the Court’s opinion that LGBT couples, “…ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” Let’s continue to work to ensure all LGBT Americans have not just full equal dignity under the law, but that discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity have no place in our country.

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