Celebrate Supreme Court Ruling That Recognizes Equal Marriage Rights But Remember the Challenges to Living Equal
Critical rights still denied LGBT Americans in many states
Statement by Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois
June 26, 2015
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing the freedom to marry for all loving couples will be celebrated by every American who believes in our nation’s founding promise of equality.
The court’s historic ruling–beyond its legal meaning–sends a powerful message that LGBT Americans and our families should be treated equally and justly in all facets of life, and empowers us to pursue true, lived equality in our communities, at school and work, wherever we build our families, travel or retire.
For the more than 10,000 same-sex couples married in Illinois, our marriages must now be recognized by every jurisdiction in the U.S. and accorded the same legal rights and protections.
Despite this milestone Supreme Court decision, many of the freedoms we enjoy in Illinois, including protections against discrimination in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations and recognition of parenting rights, are lost when we cross state lines, and these inequities must still be remedied in each state, in the courts or by action by Congress.
An Illinoisan who works across the border in Indiana to make a living for her family can still be fired if that worker is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. An Illinois couple that might want to get married in the resort communities on the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be refused that right by a magistrate. In some jurisdictions outside Illinois, same-sex married couples traveling with their children could find their parenting status challenged and one spouse might not be able to deal with an emergency on behalf of the entire family.
As we know from our national history, equal laws are just the foundation for securing equal treatment. As we have seen in recent weeks, angry opponents of LGBT equality are determined to exploit and create legal loopholes to continue their attempts to marginalize LGBT individuals and deny us a chance to live equal lives.
And so our fight for a full equality continues in this state and across the nation. As we pause to celebrate today, we know our work to live equal resumes tomorrow.