Friday June 26th, 2015; "It is so ordered" hardly in my life have four words bubbled such joy into my heart. Marriage equality has been long over-due and was a huge win for the LGBTQI community. I was euphoric to celebrate the landmark court ruling on the side of love with some of the people I love most.
However, as we celebrate love it is important for us to remember that the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality was grounded in the 14th Amendment which forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Y'all we still have so much to fight for... Only 18 of 50 states have employment non-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. None of these states are near the place I love and call home. Only 19 of 50 states have laws that protect students from harassment and bullying based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Two states (Missouri and South Dakota) actually have laws that prevent schools from specifically protecting LGBTQI students.
In Justice Kennedy's beautifully written majority opinion, he proclaimed "marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death..." So while we celebrate this ruling we must also challenge ourselves to embody a love that endures, exists, grows, and strengthens beyond the bonds of marriage and fights to protect the lives and rights of everyone. Justice Kennedy ended his statement with a profound truth: "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right." Yes that is it, equal dignity... Equal dignity means no more murdered transgender men and women, it means no more losing your job based on who you love or how you express your identity, it means no child is allowed to be bullied for so long that their ache becomes too heavy and they take their own lives, and it also means no more unarmed black men killed by police (because these fights are united by the request for equal dignity in the eyes of the law). The fight is not over y'all. We've got work to do. It is so ordered.
In the interest of having more LGBTQI voices heard, if you haven't submitted to and are interested in submitting to the Queer in Appalachia Project please do! I am getting some fantastic submissions and meeting incredible people that are helping to shape my vision for the project. I will have a submission page up soon.