Friday marked the fifth anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land on June 26, 2015.
Since then, more than 300,000 same-sex couples have been able to get married as a result of this historic ruling.
While this decision will always reman a victory for the LGBTQ+ community, the fight for equality is far from over. There are still too many hardships and injustices that need to be urgently addressed.
For instance, trans women, particularly trans women of color, are still being killed at an alarming and disproportionate rate across the country.
Just last week, two Black trans women — Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells — were brutally murdered in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
And despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, which now prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the current administration just reversed health care protections for trans people.
Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ+ People Protected from Employment Discrimination
The ruling makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Passed in 2016, the Obama-era rule prohibited discrimination in health care against trans patients. Now that the rule has been reversed, however, trans people are once again at the mercy of health care professionals.
In addition, the indefensible LGBTQ+ panic defense is unfortunately still very much alive and well.
Legal in 40 states, the LGBTQ+ panic defense is a legal strategy that excuses violent behavior by asking a jury “to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant’s violent reaction, including murder.”
The defense is often used to reduce a criminal defendant’s charges by arguing that they acted out of self-defense, provocation, or insanity.
The panic defense not only excuses violence against LGBTQ+ people, it legitimizes it.
Nine more states have recently introduced legislation to make the panic defense illegal, but none have been passed so far.
Not to mention conversion therapy is still legal in 29 states.
So while marriage equality was and is still a huge victory and should be celebrated as such, there is still long way to go before we can achieve full equality for both the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.