By: Nicole Lashomb, Editor-in-Chief—
DOMA. It is about time that heinous act of discrimination was overturned. Like many of you, I was in tears, celebrating with friends and family, that my wife and I and thousands like us, are finally recognized and treated as a family in every sense, as protected not just by Massachusetts law, but by federal law. It is a victory I that I wasn’t sure I would see in my lifetime. I am proud of the Supreme Court Justices that stood on the right side of equality.
Although this decision was historic, too many of our LGBT brothers and sisters are still left out of the equation and too many families are still not recognized nor protected by the federal and state governments.
According to www.glaad.org, “The federal government [now] has to recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples. However, the ruling does not require any state to legalize or recognize marriage equality that has not already done so.” Simply put, if you don’t live in a state that has marriage equality, then you do not have equal marital rights.
For those legally married same-sex couples that reside in states that have affirmed same-sex marriage, more than 1,100 federal legal rights are afforded to them, the same rights that heterosexual married couples have enjoyed for years. According to GLAAD, some of those rights include military family benefits, social security benefits, multiple areas of tax categories, hospital visitation rights, and healthcare benefits, and immigration rights for bi-national couples. But, what about the rest of our LGBT family living in rural America or the Bible belt? These couples are discriminated against each day for their sexual orientation or gender identity without any laws protecting their families due to their marital status or lack-there-of. [pullquote]We must forge on fully and combat the stigma of homophobia and transphobia in our churches, schools, and on the streets. We must not become complacent because we may have attained the inalienable rights we deserve in relation to marriage equality.[/pullquote]
Although, inarguably, DOMA’s repeal is a huge victory for the LGBT community, there is still insurmountable work to do to ensure that we all have equal marriage protections, regardless of the state in which you reside. And, even when this victory has afforded so many of us to finally be treated as a family unit equally under law, this is only the first victory of many battles still to come.
We must forge on fully and combat the stigma of homophobia and transphobia in our churches, schools, and on the streets. We must not become complacent because we may have attained the inalienable rights we deserve in relation to marriage equality. We must strive to end racism through education, even as it exists within our own community. We must work vigilantly to stop the war on women and immigrants. We must rile up to fight against child abuse and objectification, in all forms or simply because one may be gay. We must work to end the ignorance leading to the disproportionate number of LGBT kids living on the street as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We must continue to stand united in our front, until all Americans have the rights that they deserve. The repeal of DOMA is just the first step in the treacherous road ahead.
*Nicole Lashomb holds an MBA from Marylhurst University & a Bachelor’s from SUNY Potsdam. Contact her directly at her TRT e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.