With the US Supreme Court declaring that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and their striking of Proposition 8, feelings of elation are spinning in California and across the world. This is a huge victory for the gay, lesbian and bisexual community and demonstrates a cultural shift of acceptance as a whole.
However, there is still work to be done. The equality movement is not over, and even in the light of the glory, there are still minorities in America who are not treated as equals.
The transgender community, is one group that is still at the pioneering stages of the fight for equality, and some would say that they have bigger fish to fry than marriage.
Without question, marriage is an important right for everyone to have access to. Period. However, some basic human rights are denied to transgender individuals everyday, including discrimination protection for employment, housing rights, and basic health care.
The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) which extends anti-discrimination protections to include gender identity is a piece of legislation which has been in debate for years but has yet to pass in the Senate. However, it is a crucial piece of legislation, not to mention, a basic human right.
With the same goal in mind, The Empire State Pride Agenda is in the midst of fighting for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to pass in New York, but they have yet to see victory.
The Empire State Pride Agenda’s executive director, Nathan M. Schaefer, is fully supportive of the outcome reached in the Supreme Court’s rulings today, however pointed out that the equality fight is not over.
“The Pride Agenda heralds this historic decision that means that our federal government must recognize our marriages and grant our families access to federal benefits,” Schaefer said in a press release shared with 429Magazine.
“Here in New York State, the heartbreaking decision early Saturday by Senate leadership to prevent the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) from coming up for a vote has only strengthened our commitment to full equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families. We remain confident that one day all LGB and T people will have their rights protected throughout the country – and we won’t stop fighting until they do.”
Assembly member Tom Ammiano of California’s 13th District, shed further light on the reality of DOMA’s end. Although it was a monumental decision, which will blaze the trail for further progress, the end of DOMA doesn’t equate to a federal law instating nationwide same-sex marriage. Marriage equality is still ultimately up to each state to decide.
“This is not total victory, of course. There are LGBT people in most states who don’t have marriage equality yet. The fundamental questions are of justice and equality and the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on voting rights and affirmative action make it clear that these struggles don’t end all at once,” Ammiano said in a press release shared with 429Magazine.
“We still have to watch out to protect the rights of lesbians, gays and transgender people – and all people who suffer discrimination or inequality for any reason.”