On June 26, 6 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled to restore the freedom to marry in California. On June 26, 4 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled and brought full federal marriage equality to the nation. While our community had much to celebrate with each of those victories, even now much is being done to chip away at those protections, including our current administration’s anti-LGBTQ judicial appointments. It can be a challenge to know where to give focus.
There is still a great deal of work ahead of us: protecting and uplifting our trans siblings, ending “conversion therapy,” stopping the spread of HIV and finding a cure, foster and adoption equality, creating safer schools for LGBTQ youth, and so much more. A great many cities and states have made huge strides to protect our community, but it’s still hard to know that while we can be married in all 50 states, in 30 states we can still lose the roofs over our heads and our jobs just because of our gender identities or sexual orientations.
The Equality Act hopes to fix an array of anti-LGBTQ policy by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month with bipartisan support and now awaits action by the Republican-controlled Senate.
If we as LGBTQ people are going to make real progress in our country, we need stability in housing and employment, and passing the Equality Act would be a huge step in the right direction. Standing up for the LGBTQ community should not be a partisan issue, but is a moral one. We need our allies now more than ever, so this Pride month, I urge you to contact your own businesses, organizations, institutions of faith, and elected officials and ask them all to come out in support of the Equality Act. It’s a step each of us can take on this path toward leaving a Legacy of Liberation.
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made him a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.