Battle for equality shouldn't stop with same-sex marriage

Madelyn Schorr

On Friday, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. I stood outside the courthouse and listened to the crowd erupt with a celebrating cheer as we heard the 5-4 decision. As I looked around, I saw people everywhere crying, cheering and celebrating the momentous occasion. While the ruling is an incredible milestone in the fight for equality, we must remember that the fight is not over. The right to marry is not liberation, but validation that love does not see gender, and marriage is something two people do when they want to be extraordinary together rather than ordinary apart.

Justice Kennedy said it best in his final paragraph of his opinion: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

The right to marry is important. Marriage gives you visitation rights at hospitals, the right to make life-ending or saving decisions for an impaired spouse, social security and military survivor’s benefits and a nice tax break to boot. Denying people the right to commit themselves to each other in an institution based on respect, selflessness and compassion isn’t right. A marriage is between two people, not between them and the American public. Let those people, no matter whom they love, come together and celebrate the life they want to build together. It has been five days since the Supreme Court ruling, and as far as I can tell the world has continued to spin on its axis. God has not brought back the plague or engulfed the earth in a fire (that heat you feel is just a miserable Alabama summer).

This victory is just one stop on the road to equality. There is still work to be done to ensure that people do not face discrimination. LGBTQ people can still be fired or refused housing based on their sexual orientation or gender expression. Gender- neutral bathrooms are barely a blip on most construction managers radar. Black queer and trans folk are still subject to intense scrutiny and unspeakable violence by their own fellow citizens. It shames America that the number one cause of death for trans women of color is homicide. It shames us all that 40 percent of youth without homes identify on the LGBTQ spectrum. We can’t stop fighting for equality until those who are marginalized and oppressed are ensured the protection they deserve.

I will not stop here.

Madelyn Schorr is a senior majoring art and anthropology. Her column runs biweekly.