LGBT

Marriage Equality Is The Law Of The Land. Now What?

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On Friday, the Supreme Court made history by ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, bringing marriage equality to the entire United States. Now, gay and lesbian couples can legally wed in every state in the country.

The decision is obviously a huge victory for the LGBT rights movement, representing the culmination of decades of advocacy work to ensure marriage equality for people of all sexual orientations. It also follows a remarkable shift in public opinion on the subject over the past decade, as support for legal same-sex marriage skyrocketed to record highs.

“Today we can say in no uncertain terms that we’ve made our union a little more perfect,” President Obama said in a speech following the the decision, before pointing out that there’s still work left to be done.

Indeed, even as LGBT Americans have made huge progress in securing marriage equality, many other areas of the law lag behind. While same-sex couples will now have many of the legal benefits afforded through marriage, there are still states that don’t protect LGBT individuals from discrimination at their jobs, in their homes, in their schools, or at their doctors’ offices.

“Most states have no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people,” David Stacy, the government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, told NPR this week. “With limited or no federal protections, an LGBT person can get legally married in most states, but then be evicted from an apartment and denied a home loan.”

The Movement Advancement Project, a think tank that maps the state-level policies related to LGBT equality, keeps close tabs on the parts of the country that still lack those laws:


States that don’t protect LGBT people from being unfairly fired, not hired, or discriminated against in the workplace:

employment nondiscrimination

States that don’t prevent LGBT people from being unfairly evicted, denied housing, or refused the ability to rent or buy housing:

housing final

States that don’t protect LGBT students from being bullied by other students, teachers, and school staff:

safe schools final

States that don’t prevent LGBT people from being unfairly denied health coverage or services in private insurance plans:

health care final

Making progress in these areas will involve passing additional protections to bolster the patchwork of existing state laws. Congressional Democrats are reportedly already working on comprehensive legislation to outlaw LGBT discrimination in employment, education, housing, jury service, restaurants, and hotels that’s expected to be introduced next month.