Marriage equality the first step in the LGBTQI civil rights movement

The Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right is a great victory for the LGBTQI community and for everyone who believes in freedom and equality for all human beings. It is a defeat for the forces of bigotry and ignorance and particularly for people who believe that freedom of religion includes the freedom to discriminate. It does not.


Today is a day for joyous celebration! We are indeed making great progress. At the same time it is clear that there is so much more to do. I believe that we are at a stage in the struggle for LGBTQI rights that is analogous to where we were at in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. We are seeing progress in terms of increased legal protections for the LGBTQI community, and we are moving toward a society that is more tolerant and perhaps even more accepting of people in the community. However, we are still a long way from a broad-based recognition of full equality—of the recognition that it is just as natural and authentic to be gay as it is to be straight and that it is just as natural and authentic to be transgender as it is to be cisgender. We are indeed at the very the earliest stage in the struggle for transgender rights and equality. For transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, the number one issue is still survival.

Today’s victory is a tribute to all of the brave people who have come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. Their courage has made this great day possible. Let’s all celebrate today while knowing that there remains so much more to do to ensure freedom and equality for everyone.

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