Marriage Equality Is A Family Value To Most Americans Now, Deal With It
For far too long, the idea of ‘family values’ has only meant valuing a certain kind of family. Families built around a same-sex couple have been left out in the cold: unable to access family health insurance plans, unable to secure legal standing in case of an emergency or death, unable to visit a spouse in the hospital. (Apparently, making sure a woman whose wife has just passed away is left destitute is the only thing standing between heterosexual marriage and its doom.)
So marriage equality has been a long time coming, and now, more Americans than ever support the idea. According to NPR, sixty percent of people polled on the subject voiced their support for equal access to the institution of marriage with all its sweet, sweet, government-sponsored privileges and benefits — that’s up from a scant 27% just twenty years ago. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats polled said that they supported marriage equality, compared to 64% of independents and a lousy 37% of Republicans, for whom it is still apparently 1996, if not 1956. Sorry, friends: the times, they are a-changing, and if you don’t like this kind of homomentum, the door to Canada is up that way. (Spoilers: you’re not going to like it very much there, either.)
Of course, just because the tide is finally turning for marriage equality, the fight to protect people with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities isn’t over. Marriage equality is a wonderful thing, but rates of homelessness and suicide among LGBTQIA people, especially youth, is a horrible problem still; you can still be fired for the simple fact of being gay in the majority of states; and the frequency and intensity of violence perpetuated against these groups of people is truly horrifying. Think of Leelah Alcorn. Think of Matthew Shepherd. Think about how much still desperately needs to change in order to protect others from re-living the same awful stories.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m waving my red equal-sign flag awfully hard over here; but it would be a grave mistake to think we can just pick up our ball and head home after we finally score the winning goal to seal the marriage equality victory. (Psst, Supreme Court: we’re all watching you guys. Don’t screw this one up.) There’s a lot more work to do, so let’s take a moment to be proud of how far we’ve come as a country — and then buckle down to get ourselves much, much farther.
(Feature image: FtLaudGirl / iStock / Getty)