Tuesday, March 28, 2023

National Equality Day Celebrates Progress and Reflects on Past Struggles

Recently, June 26, a.k.a “Equality Day” has become an important date in the recent history of the LGBTQ community as it is the release date of three Supreme Court decisions which changed many lives.  Three landmark court decisions from the past fifteen years – Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges laid the foundation for marriage equality and greater social acceptance.  Below is a quick refresher:

Lawrence v Texas (2003). This 6-3 decision struck down Texas sodomy laws and invalidated similar laws in other states making love legal across the country, regardless of sexual orientation.

United States v. Windsor (2013). This 5-4 decision  ruled that section three of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) is unconstitutional and that the federal government cannot discriminate against married lesbian and gay couples when  determining benefits and protections.

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). Another 5-4 decision, this case deemed marriage a fundamental right and that state-level bans on same-sex, such as Virginia’s, were unconstitutional.

While Equality Day is not an official banking holiday (yet), it is a day at the end of Pride month for the community to reflect about how much progress has been achieved and how much more work needs to be done before all LGBTQ persons in our country feel free to live authentically and openly without fear of oppression or reprisals.

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