Not the End of the Road: The Struggles That Remain After Marriage Equality

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May 14, 2015
Camilla Taylor

From ACSblog:

As the four legal teams representing same-sex couples from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan left the Supreme Court after oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges, we felt overwhelmed by the significance of the moment. The Supreme Court is now poised in our combined cases to decide whether the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Many of us had worked toward this day for well over a decade or longer.

A victory in Obergefell would be transformative. Our struggle for the freedom to marry has always been about far more than marital protections; at its essence, our struggle is nothing less than a demand for formal recognition of our common humanity and of the legitimacy of all families. A win for same-sex couples and their children will breathe new life into our country’s promise of liberty and equality. Children of same-sex couples will be able to grow up free of government-imposed stigma, and with pride in themselves and in their families. Lesbian and gay youth will be able to hold their heads higher, secure in the knowledge that they may form families worthy of equal respect in the eyes of their government.

However, while a victory in Obergefell would be historic, it would not be the end, even for our marriage work. A movement to secure civil rights is never finished by a Supreme Court ruling, no matter how important that ruling may be.

As we have seen after past marriage court victories, states determined to discriminate do not simply give up. Instead, for example, they fight to deny the children of same-sex spouses two-parent birth certificates. Same-sex spouses who were precluded from marrying until recently, or whose marriages were denied recognition as a result of discriminatory state marriage bans, may still have to fight for crucial marital protections subject to a relationship duration requirement (such as social security benefits for a surviving spouse, which accrue only to those who were married for more than nine months under state law).


Read the full article here.