Turning the Corner on Gay Rights

Posted on July 10, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

By James Scott

gay-pride-flagThe Supreme Court’s decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act last month was a resounding victory for marriage equity, but it also was a signal that the nation may have turned a corner in the way it treats gay Americans.

It was a big step, certainly, in expanding gay rights, but it is still only the first step. This corner turning business means a lot, but once it is turned America needs to keep moving forward along the road to genuine equality.

Polls show a majority of Americans either support gay marriage or don’t really care who marries whom. But the shrill minority who are strangely fixated on the bedroom habits of others are fighting on, insisting from shrinking stages that their kind of love is the only kind that should be allowed.

The court issued not one, but two, blows to the anti-gay marriage agenda. On the same day it struck down the marriage equity act, it also threw out a California’s ban on gay marriage.

But states can still ban gay marriage and refuse to recognize same-sex unions that are legal in other states. So the fight at the state level will go on, with some states likely to continue to be unfriendly to gay couples for some time.

It is true that most states still do not allow same-sex marriage and workplace protections are lacking in most states and under federal law.

But things are changing, along with public opinion. Forty years ago, the majority of Americans still believed homosexuality to be morally wrong. Today, the majority back same-sex marriage and three states voted to approve same-sex marriage last year alone.

And while LGBT workers lack government protections, corporate policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation are becoming more and more common everyday.

Certainly, discrimination against LGBT couples will continue in many corners, including the workplace, whether same-sex marriage is permitted or not. One way to change this would be for Congress to add protections for gay rights to the Civil Rights Act, though here you’d be setting the stage for one epic battle on Capitol Hill.

Yes, America has turned a corner, but, as often is the case, it may take a while before Congress does the same.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at www.turnergpa.com.




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