Marriage is a milestone, not a destination
The cause of marriage equality is a white bread issue: It was thus perfect to bring people to our cause in the millions. So many people in the LGBT community seek that right, but perhaps even more importantly so many of our friends, families, and coworkers have seen our relationships grow and flourish, but hampered by the lack of equal protections. Marriage equality is an issue even the liberal religious could get behind to help normalize LGBT relationships.
Tens of millions of people became armchair activists, galvanized by the constant stream of court victories in the easy-to-measure march of liberty through the courts over the last five years. But after marriage, what are our issues? Job security, housing rights, the personal security of our youth in schools, protections for trans people (including not on the aforementioned, but also a whole bevy of other needs, from birth certificates to healthcare), to name only the most obvious. These fights will be made all the more difficult by the inevitable conservative legislative responses.
But in marriage equality we were all in the same boat, for the most part. Many LGBT people work for companies that have anti-discrimination policies for their employees, and many can afford housing in neighborhoods where discrimination is unlikely. In future fights, LGBT people and their allies will be asked to fight for issues that affect the weakest members of their community, but which may not be personal “top priority” issues.
It is essential that we continue to fight at one another’s side. If you aren’t convinced that those fights are yours too by the simple fact that all fights for civil rights are your fights too, then be convinced by the fact that until this fight is over, all victories are temporary. Marriage equality will not be secure until all LGBT rights are secure.
Marriage equality won’t truly be secure until every stronghold of bias is worn down by the sight of what a beautiful place our country could be if everyone were free and equal, and even the least of us was protected from the legislation of the personal biases and dogmas of a loud and powerful mob. So before this battle is won, it’s time to start planning for the new front. I encourage everyone to examine the Tennessee Equality Project’s Local Government Advocacy Agenda 2015-2019 to start planning how you can best help!