Tag: Marriage

Million Catholic women protest Vatican’s refusal to accept marriage equality

Catholic

Catholic women are calling on the Vatican to modernise its views on LGBT+ relationships (Envato Elements)

Five Catholic women’s organisations with a million members are calling on the Vatican to reverse its position that priests cannot bless same-sex unions.

The women, all from German-speaking areas, voiced their unhappiness in an open letter to the Vatican’s orthodoxy office released on Thursday (1 April).

It was signed by the heads of two groups in Germany and one each in Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy’s largely German-speaking South Tyrol region.

“On behalf of around a million women working in the German-speaking Catholic women’s associations … [we demand] that homosexual couples no longer be excluded from the blessing of the church,” they write.

“The church’s mission to be effective as a sign of salvation in the world means countering homophobia and standing up for gender equality, also on the basis of human sciences. These shed new light on the plan for God’s creation.”

The organisations call for “a renewal of sexual and relationship ethics” in the Catholic Church and suggest there needs to be a “recognition of the everyday reality of people in same-sex relationships”.

“God’s love is promised to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. He doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t judge,” the letter continues.

“Sexuality is a part of God’s good creation, and responsible, loving sexual relationships cannot be reduced to marriage. Any long-term relationship with love, care and responsibility for one another gives children the space and protection they need for their life and growth.”

The open letter is the latest sign of pushback from the German-speaking world against a document released last month by the Vatican’s orthodoxy office which said Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin”.

The Vatican acknowledged that some churches have begun offering blessings to same-sex couples due to “a sincere desire” to welcome LGBT+ people into the church, but argued that a true blessing can only be conferred on a couple when they live according to “the designs of God inscribed in creation”.

Have you read about the Sapporo court in Japan that has said that the same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional? What do you think about it? : actuallesbians

Have you read about the Sapporo court in Japan that

A place for discussions for and by cis and trans lesbians, bisexual girls, chicks who like chicks, bi-curious folks, dykes, butches, femmes, girls who kiss girls, birls, bois, aces, LGBT allies, and anyone else interested! Our subreddit is named r/actuallesbians because r/lesbians is not really for or by lesbians–it was meant to be a joke. We’re not a militant or exclusive group, so feel free to join up!

Switzerland looks set to be the next country to legalise same-sex marriage

Switzerland

Switzerland has taken a major step on the path to equality after its parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a law to pass same-sex marriage.

The council of states – the upper house of Switzerland’s legislature – voted by by 22 votes to 15 to approve landmark legislation to make same-sex marriage a reality. Just seven politicians abstained from the vote.

It’s a huge moment for a country that has lagged behind most of Europe when it comes to LGBT+ rights, and is the culmination of a seven-year campaign.

“We have been waiting for this for seven years,” Olga Baranova of the Marriage For All campaign told Le Temps. “The emotions are very strong.”

The bill first introduced by the Green Party in 2013, and several versions of the text have since been debated. One of the central questions was whether a constitutional change was required to make it happen or whether a change of law would be enough.

Article 14 of Switzerland’s constitution states that “the right to marry and to have a family is guaranteed.” Those in favour of a legal change argued there was no need to change this because it already accommodates marriages of any kind.

The majority council of states agreed and rejected a motion that would have required a nationwide constitutional referendum on marriage equality, which would have delayed the law even further.

The push for equality was helped in part by progressive parties’ electoral gains in October that shifted parliament more to the left.

It’s been a long time coming for the Swiss LGBT+ community, whose conservative country has been slow to enact positive change: the first law banning LGBT+ discrimination only passed as recently as this February.

It’s not the end of the road though, and the next battle will concern LGBT+ couples’ access to sperm donors.

While the vast majority of Swiss people are now in favour of same-sex marriage, the debate around insemination remains controversial and is likely to be the subject of a national referendum.

Fearing the end of marriage equality, one couple rushes to the altar before an historic election is called

Fearing the end of marriage equality, one couple rushes to

Following the appointment of conservative Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Jason Melcher and Johnnie Wonders worried that their right to marry as a gay couple could be revoked. An historic election day that could further impact their fate was just around the corner, so the pair rushed to the altar, planning their special event in just under two days.

The couple lives in the swing state of Pennsylvania in an area that Jason refers to as Trump territory. Multiple neighbors flaunt yard signs that promote the incumbent, and even larger, more prominent displays can be seen a few miles down the road. Johnnie says, “I wish they could realize how their unwavering faith in this president affects us,” adding that Trump’s bigotry and problematic perspectives impact the lives and mental health of marginalized people in ways that his supporters don’t seem to understand.

Johnnie says, “We might do things they wouldn’t do with their own lives, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not like them when it comes to our relationships and how we love one another.” Jason explains that one reason to get married so quickly was to guarantee protections the couple could otherwise be denied. He cites the importance of hospital visitation, sharing health insurance, the right to make decisions for each other in an emergency, and other rights that could be important during a pandemic.

He adds, “It’s literally just a piece of paper but it means so much more in the political sense. It’s a giant middle finger to the current president and Amy Coney Barrett or anyone else who isn’t sure we should be married.”

photo by Lorena Melcher
It was difficult to find time for the ceremony because both men are working two jobs, but they ultimately invited guests to a late-night affair in the early hours of Halloween. The wedding day was also a work day for Jason, who went straight from his full-time job at a local, queer-centered nonprofit to an evening shift at McDonald’s. Jason didn’t return home until after midnight, leaving just enough time to shower and change clothes before walking down the stairs of the couple’s home with his groom at 1 a.m.

The pair was joined in person by Jason’s parents and twin as well as two of their close friends in addition to Jason’s older brother who connected via live-stream. They gathered in front of their fireplace mantle which Johnnie decorated with sparkling lights and festive garlands hours before the event. A Progress Pride flag hung on a nearby wall in the living room as they exchanged vows in matching Renaissance garb.

Both men wore black harem pants and matching boots paired with similarly styled vests that had pointed shoulders and chain details. A gold collar, lapel and cuffs accented Jason’s burgundy, leather vest, which he paired with a black, long-sleeved v-neck. Wonders donned similar attire, but his vest was black with purple embellishments, and he carried a decorative knife. Guests dressed in the theme with outfits they’d typically sport at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire.

Their original wedding date was scheduled for a Renaissance Faire weekend, an event both men feel deeply connected to after growing up visiting the destination and eventually developing a strong community there. Jason isn’t too disappointed that his original wedding plans didn’t come to fruition because the pair hopes to renew their vows in a ceremony that will match his dreams. The new date of October 31 is significant for Johnnie who is Wiccan, and the couple incorporated a Pagan handfasting ritual into the ceremony. The couple didn’t exchange rings, but they tied a braided embroidery thread into a knot around their shared clasp to signify their union. 

At 6-foot-6, Jason was the tallest person present—standing just inches below the ceiling and 14 inches higher than Johnnie who is only 5-foot-4. “Every aspect of our relationship is opposites attract,” Jason says as he begins to list their differences. He describes himself as a lap dog who needs a lot of cuddling and Johnnie as someone who prefers more space. He notes that they approach finances and the perceptions of the world from a different lens because of the ways they grew up. Johnnie, 43, was raised by his grandfather in rural Pennsylvania, going to high school across the parking lot from a cow field, and developing his sense of self in a space where being gay isn’t always affirmed. In contrast, Jason, 26, grew up in suburbs that border Philadelphia, immersed in a younger generation of queer people and is around those who embody more diverse aspects of identity, such as nonbinary and agender descriptors.


Johnnie is a homebody whereas Jason likes to go out—but Jason notes, “He gives me a valid reason to stay home and relax—to spend time with him rather than go, go, go. I do the opposite for him, so we offer balance to each other—where he reminds me to rest and I remind him to live a little more.” Johnnie underlines that each of their differences is a positive attribute in their relationship that helps them grow and feel grounded together.


The pair met four years ago at a leather and fetish event and proudly embraces a dominant-submissive dynamic, but most people make the wrong assumptions about who’s who. Johnnie explains, “Everyone thinks Jason is the more dominant one because he’s so much bigger, but we defy stereotypes.” Johnnie says that he’s learned there just isn’t a specific concept for norms regarding relationships anymore. He underlined, “And in that way, our relationship is no different than anyone else’s.”

Johnnie mailed his ballot the day of their wedding and both men are trying to practice self-care, enjoy virtual time with friends, and pour themselves into work while awaiting results—which experts say might take until Friday to finalize in Pennsylvania. When explaining how he hopes those in leadership will view queer and marginalized people over the next four years, Johnnie says, “I want the world to realize that there’s only one thing that should matter. It’s just love. Plain and simple. Just love.”

Photo credit: Lorena Melcher

 

Amy Coney Barrett ‘final puzzle piece’ to overturning equal marriage

Amy Coney Barrett 'final puzzle piece' to overturning equal marriage

Judge Amy Coney Barrett attends first day of her Senate confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 12, 2020. (ERIN SCHAFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s nominee to replace LGBT+ rights hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, has been accused of cozying up to groups that “fan the flames” of anti-trans rhetoric and of posing a direct threat to equal marriage.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee began the process of confirming Coney Barrett on Monday (October 12), LGBT+ campaigners have reasserted their opposition.

They warned that her appointment would effectively abolish the fragile consensus in favour of LGBT+ equality on the court, by replacing Ginsburg’s reliably-liberal vote with a stalwart conservative who has a lengthy problematic track record.

A report by Human Rights Campaign released shortly ahead of the Senate hearings warns that Coney Barrett has “demonstrated hostility toward LGBTQ rights in her words and rulings”, signalling her closeness to the late anti-LGBT+ conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, who opposed the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Amy Coney Barrett called trans women ‘physiological males’

As detailed in the report, Amy Coney Barrett has previously misgendered transgender people, referring to a transgender women as “physiological males” as she questioned their basic rights.

Coney Barrett has also questioned landmark marriage equality ruling Obergefell v Hodges, which brought same-sex weddings to all 50 states, and signed a 2015 letter stating her support for “marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman”.

She took an opposite view from the court on whether anti-discrimination protections extend to transgender Americans, claiming in a 2016 lecture that it’s a “strain on the text” to reach that interpretation.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF), meanwhile, cited her “multiple ties to fervently anti-transgender organizations” including the Heritage Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom, the latter of which has argued in court that has argued it should be legal for employers to fire workers simply because they are transgender.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett attends first day of her Senate confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 12, 2020.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett attends first day of her Senate confirmation hearing to the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 12, 2020. (Erin SCHAFF / POOL / AFP)

TLDEF executive director Andy Marra said: “Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial record and public statements are clear. She has expressed opposition to basic protections for transgender people, and sought to undermine decades of case law protecting fair employment and access to health care.

“Judge Barrett has also misgendered transgender girls and women and perhaps most disturbingly, she has targeted transgender children. None of this comes as a shock when you consider her affiliations.

“Judge Barrett has cozied up to groups that fan the flames of anti-transgender rhetoric and aspire for transgender people to simply not exist.

“Judge Barrett’s record shows her to be a threat to the safety and well-being of transgender people and our families. Today, we remain steadfast in our opposition to her nomination for our nation’s highest court.”

Supreme Court nominee ‘poses a clear threat’ to LGBT+ rights

HRC president Alphonso David said: “Every American should be concerned by this nomination and its implications on the progress of equality for LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups.

“This upcoming term and beyond, we expect crucial cases about the future of LGBTQ rights to appear before the Court. Amy Coney Barrett poses a clear threat to any progress we can expect to see from the Court and her record shows she will take every opportunity to oppose us and scale back our rights. We vigorously oppose her nomination.”

HRC added: “Judge Barrett poses a direct threat to the constitutional rights of LGBTQ community and all Americans, and she should not be confirmed for a pivotal vote on the highest court in the land, especially under such extraordinary and troubling circumstances.”

Just one day after the election, the court will begin to hear a case that could drastically impact LGBT+ rights, as it decides whether taxpayer-funded foster care agencies should be permitted to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, two of the court’s existing conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, recently launched a broadside against equal marriage, signalling a desire to revisit the court’s 2015 ruling on the issue.

Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings said: “The nightmare of a hostile Supreme Court majority is already here. The confirmation hearings for judge Amy Coney Barrett haven’t even started yet and justices Thomas and Alito are already creating a laundry list of cases they want to overturn. And unsurprisingly, marriage equality is first on the chopping block. Confirming judge Barrett would be the final puzzle piece they need in order to make it happen.

“Overturning our right to legally marry the person we love and to protect our families would only be the beginning; none of the hard-fought rights that we have won in the courts are safe. That includes the right to marry, to work, or to be recognized as the legal parents of our children.

“But we will not be forced back into the closet. Lambda Legal has taken on tough fights before, beginning in 1973 when we had to sue for our very right to exist under New York law, and we’re ready for this one, too. We have come too far in the 47 years since we were founded to turn back now.”

Meanwhile, anti-LGBT+ activists have mobilised in full support of her nomination.

Brian Brown of the National Organisation of Marriage told his supporters in an email: “Make no mistake about it – the confirmation of judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is essential to our continuing efforts to overturn Obergefell and restore marriage to our nation’s laws.”

Brown is among the figures who has spent years publicly detailing plans to stack the court with conservatives and overturn equal marriage, boasting in 2017 that “we are likely only one vote short of reinstating marriage in our nation.”

Mo Springer reviews Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu – The Lesbrary

Mo Springer reviews Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by S.J. Sindu (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Lucky is a lesbian, but in her conservative Sri Lankan family, that’s not an option. She married her gay friend Kris and they go to gay bars, have lovers, and still have the approval and conditional love of their family. When her grandmother falls and Lucky has to move back home to help take care of her, the lies become harder and more pressing. Then, Lucky’s childhood sweetheart Nisha is getting married, and Lucky wants to save her. She’s trapped in the obligations of a family that has many of its own problems–her father divorced her mother for her best friend, her sister entered an arranged marriage she didn’t want but seems happy, and her other sister ran away. Lucky wants to escape this life of duty without happiness, but how can she leave her family behind?

This was a hard story, I won’t lie. There is a lot of honesty and truth in this book, and the author doesn’t pull any punches. Lucky is miserable, and her obvious depression bleeds through the page. Having said that, it’s important to note that this is not a bad story–this is an amazing story that surrounds sad events.

Every single character is so unique and well-rounded that by the end of the book, I felt like I knew these people personally. Lucky’s mother clings to these traditions and cultural rules so desperately as a way to keep control of her life that has been destroyed by these same rules (her husband who left her is accepted in their society, but not she, the divorced woman). Her grandmother has always been very dear, and has lived an amazing life, but now puts Lucky into a panic with talk of grandchildren. Nisha wants her family to love and accept her, but she also wants to have her own life and happiness. Kris is desperate to be different from what he is, to keep up this lie as much as possible, to never let go, no matter the cost to Lucky.

A lot of these characters come across as unlikeable for good reason. Lucky’s mother is unquestioningly homophobic. At times it seems that Nisha is using Lucky more than caring about how her decisions have an affect on her. Kris, similarly, seems to be using Lucky.

Kris in particular I had a hard time giving as much empathy to as I was with the other characters. As much as I hated Lucky’s mother’s decisions, I can understand them. I felt all of her Lucky’s pain every time Nisha did something to hurt her, but I can also sympathize with where Nisha is coming from. But with Kris, at times it really felt like he just saw Lucky as a means to an end, the end being his acceptance in their community and his family. Lucky wants to lie to keep her family happy, but Kris seems to want more than that. He wants to be normal and have the social status he would have if he was straight.

Social status and community acceptance are themes for all the characters. The author does a great job of explaining the Sri Lankan culture and traditions, creating an immersive experience that also helps to inform the reader of the characters’ motivations. As much as I didn’t like what a lot of them did, I understood them and stayed engaged with their story arcs.

The writing itself is also amazingly beautiful. The exact and specific imagery that flows through the narrative pulled me so effectively the real world felt like a blur. I think I must have highlight lines on every page, it was so stunning.

This is a great book, and I do highly recommend it. It’s not a light and fluffy read, so don’t go into it expecting that, but it is fulfilling.

Supreme Court justices set stage to end marriage equality

Supreme Court justices set stage to end marriage equality

Supreme Court justices set stage to end marriage equality – Equally Wed, modern LGBTQ+ weddings + LGBTQ-inclusive wedding pros

Marriage Is Not Enough: Securing Parentage in New England and Beyond

Marriage Is Not Enough: Securing Parentage in New England and

Marriage equality has been the law nationwide since 2015, but married and unmarried LGBTQ couples who use third-party assisted reproductive technologies (ART) still face significant obstacles in most states to securing ironclad legal parentage for both parents. Progress in a few states, most recently in New England, may point the way forward.

Rainbow Shoes

Photo credit: Alexas_Fotos

First, it’s important to understand that simply being on a child’s birth certificate is not enough to guarantee parental rights, since a birth certificate is not a court document. When a married, nonbiological parent is placed on a birth certificate without an adoption or other court order, it is because the state recognizes the marriage and presumes any children of that marriage to be children of both spouses. The danger is if the nonbiological parent travels to a jurisdiction that doesn’t recognize the marital presumption for someone who’s not biologically related to that child, explained GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Patience Crozier in an interview. And for nonbiological parents in unmarried couples, the path to legal recognition is even more precarious.

Only an adoption or other court order of parentage is guaranteed “full faith and credit” by other states. “What you want to do,” Crozier explained, “is make sure your child has some decree of parentage that clearly is not based on marital status but really secures your parent-child relationship.”

Simplifying Confirmatory Adoptions

LGBTQ legal experts therefore still advise even married LGBTQ couples to get “second-parent adoptions,” also known as “confirmatory adoptions” or “co-adoptions,” for the nonbiological parent. These confirmatory adoptions were first used in some states in the mid-1980s, before marriage equality, to ensure both parents had legal connections to their children.

Yet adoption processes were not developed with confirmatory adoptions in mind. They usually cost several thousand dollars in attorney’s fees and require an intrusive home study, background check, and court appearance, among other requirements. These are burdensome and insulting to LGBTQ couples who together planned for and are raising the child one of them has birthed. Adoptions can also take several months after a child’s birth to complete, which means the child of an LGBTQ couple does not have the protection of two legal parents during that time.

Some states have therefore taken steps to simplify confirmatory adoptions. California did away with the home study, background check, and court appearance for them in 2015; New Jersey followed in January 2020. And on July 20th this year, New Hampshire enacted a law clarifying that LGBTQ couples have access to confirmatory adoptions but don’t need home studies. (It also expanded access to adoption for unmarried couples.) Several other states and jurisdictions allow courts to waive home studies on a case-by-case basis.

In Massachusetts, a bill to remove the home study, background check, and court appearance from confirmatory adoptions has been voted out of committee in both houses. GLAD and other advocates are working to bring it to a vote on the floor.

Other Parentage Options

Some states, too, are now offering alternative ways to get court decrees of parentage. The New Hampshire law passed in July also allows parents who create their families through ART to petition for a parentage order before, during, or after the pregnancy, with no home study and usually no court hearing. New York in April enacted legislation that allows parents who use ART to seek a judgment of parentage, with no home study and only a single court visit that can be done before the child’s birth.

New York is also one of seven states (California, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Vermont, Washington, and, as of July 16, Rhode Island) that allow nonbiological parents of any gender to establish legal parentage via a simple Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage (VAP) form that may be filed at the hospital right after the birth. Massachusetts allows VAPs only for unmarried couples, but legislation has been introduced to extend them to married ones.

“A VAP is an equivalent of a court decree of parentage,” Crozier asserted, but cautioned that they have not yet been tested in a court. “We still do recommend that until all of these protections are secured more broadly, folks get court decrees of parentage.” Nevertheless, she said, “I think it’s really important for people to be able to have access to both. Every family situation is different. You want everybody to feel that they have the level of protection appropriate for them.”

Expanded access to VAPs is “an access to justice issue,” she said. “You want people to be able to protect their kid immediately on birth without having to go through the burdens of court processes or hiring a lawyer. You want to be able to have the same access that every other parent has to securing parentage. I’ve seen some really tragic circumstances when people aren’t able to protect their relationships as soon as possible after birth.”

The Path Forward

California, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington enacted VAPs for parents of any gender as part of more comprehensive parentage-law updates shaped by the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA), a legal framework created by the non-partisan Uniform Law Commission, which provides model legislation to states. The UPA was first developed in 1973, but updated in 2017 in the wake of nationwide marriage equality, Crozier said, to help states ensure their parentage laws provide equality for children born to LGBTQ families. It clarifies ways to establish parentage for children born through ART and surrogacy to both married and unmarried parents and gives courts ways to resolve competing claims of parentage. Most recently, Rhode Island, which hadn’t updated its parentage laws since the 1970s, enacted a UPA-based law in July.

Several additional states (Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania) have introduced UPA-based bills this year. Most of these bills are effectively dead for the session, however, as legislatures have been swamped with bills and obstacles related to the pandemic. In Connecticut, the parentage bill “had a phenomenal hearing before the Joint Judiciary Committee”—four days before the session shut down because of COVID-19. In Massachusetts, they have received an extension till September 1 to try and get it out of committee, but it’s unclear if that’s enough time, even though “There’s not a lot of opposition,” Crozier said.

Nevertheless, she said, New England “is getting in really good shape,” due in large part to GLAD’s work. Not only did Rhode Island enact new parentage legislation recently, but “Maine has really comprehensive parentage [laws], Vermont was updated in 2018, New Hampshire, now with this [July] tweak, has very updated provisions, and our focus now turns to Connecticut and Massachusetts.”

The Connecticut bill is particularly important since Connecticut is the only state in New England without protections for nonbiological, nonmarital parents, she explained. The bill has “tremendous bipartisan support,” though, she asserted, and will be filed again next session.

Taking Action

Crozier encourages people in Massachusetts to contact their legislators about the Parentage Act bills (H.139 and S.77) and those that would simplify the confirmatory adoption process (H.1485 and S.1013). In Connecticut, people should reach out to their legislators about the Connecticut Parentage Act (H.B. 5178).

People can contact legislators on their own, but GLAD is also “always looking for people who want to share their stories and get involved in legislative advocacy.” Those interested should contact GLAD Answers (800.455.GLAD or see glad.org).

“Real constituents with personal stories of why this matters to them or their family member or friend … are so incredibly important,” she said. She cited the stories GLAD collected for Rhode Island legislators that were “so compelling” in making the successful case for the parentage bill there. “It’s hard to turn away from a family.”

(Originally published as my Mombian newspaper column.)

family photo session cover for surprise marriage proposal

family photo session cover for surprise marriage proposal

Carolina + Eli: family photo session cover for surprise marriage proposal

Five Years of Marriage Equality, Brought to You in Large Part by Parents

Five Years of Marriage Equality, Brought to You in Large

Five years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that marriage should be open to all couples, no matter their gender—and one of the strongest arguments in the case was the best interests of children. Yet even five years after marriage equality, we are still struggling towards full equality for our families.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that won marriage equality nationwide:

Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples. This does not mean that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. Precedent protects the right of a married couple not to procreate, so the right to marry cannot be conditioned on the capacity or commitment to procreate.

Marriage equality advocates had worked hard to transform “think of the children” from an argument against marriage for same-sex couples into one for it. Back in 2008, during the Proposition 8 battle in California, marriage equality opponents tried to scare people by saying that marriage equality would require that students learn about homosexuality in schools (as if that were a bad thing). Prop 8 passed, and same-sex couples were blocked from marriage. By 2013, however, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in Windsor, the case that tore down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): “[DOMA] humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples…. [and] makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Variations of that argument were then used to win every other federal decision on marriage equality, except for the one in the 6th Circuit, which ruled against marriage equality and thus precipitated its hearing before the Supreme Court in Obergefell.

Most of the plaintiffs in Obergefell were parents (though not lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell), as I detailed here. Additionally, many children of same-sex parents contributed to the Voices of Children amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in Obergefell, organized by Family Equality Council, COLAGE, and Kentucky youth Kinsey Morrison. Many others spoke out in public forums, in their classrooms, or on the playground to stand up for their families. (The most well-known of these is perhaps Zach Wahls, who in 2011 spoke at an Iowa House hearing about a bill to ban marriage for same-sex couples, and is now an Iowa state senator himself.)

Marriage is an important institution for both practical and symbolic reasons, and the impact of Obergefell was positive and resounding. Marital rights and parental rights have a complicated and not coterminous relationship, though, and nonbiological mothers have had to bring lawsuits in many states, even after Obergefell, in order to gain legal rights to their children and be put on their birth certificates. (A short and probably incomplete list: Arkansas and Arizona, Hawaii, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Indiana.) And just last week, as I recently wrote, Indiana has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to deny the right of married nonbiological mothers in same-sex couples to be put on their children’s birth certificates without second-parent adoptions, thus denying the children the security of having two legal parents from birth. (The Supreme Court has yet to say whether it will take the case.)

Additionally, the U.S. State Department is continuing to deny some children of married same-sex couples equal rights to citizenship—although a federal court last week said they were wrong to do so in one instance.

Furthermore, marriage is not the solution to all of our inequalities. The Supreme Court ruled last week that people cannot be fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is another huge milestone; yet the Trump administration has also finalized a rule that says health care anti-discrimination protections don’t cover discrimination based on LGBTQ identities. More and more states and the federal government are permitting religiously based discrimination in adoption and foster care. And transgender people continue to face discrimination in many other areas, including military service.

Many LGBTQ rights organizations are pushing for the passage of the Equality Act, which would offer broad protections to LGBTQ people and our children throughout our daily lives. That seems a good idea, but will likely depend heavily on the results of the November election. Even as we look back with pride on the progress we’ve made over the past five years, then, let us also recommit to the work we still need to be doing.