June of this year was a groundbreaking month. Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide and talks to remove the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride spread across the country. Although this should be seen as a huge victory for same-sex couples nationwide, with all the excitement many may have forgotten that the fight to gain federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing and commerce for LGBT people is ongoing.
Much like the rights that protect people against discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin, it’s important that it be recognized that same-sex couples are deserving of these rights too. Currently at least 22 states nationwide protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation in terms of public accommodations including, restaurants, hotels, parks, retail stores and other public social venues. However, many states do not have these protections or protections for transgender people, and these are the next hurdles for LGBT people and their supporters.
Most of the states that already have nondiscrimination laws in public accommodations include a majority of the West Coast (excluding Arizona) and a large portion of the Northeastern United States. Many of the states that remain in question on laws that bar discrimination against same-sex couples are also states with people that have the audacity to try to defend the Confederate battle flag as a symbol of southern pride instead of acknowledging it for what it really is: a symbol of an outdated ideology that is no longer socially accepted in culture today.
Instead of getting angry, we should feel sorry for the people who are still fighting against same-sex marriage equality in the United States. Times are changing people, and if you’re sitting at home angry, stressing over the way someone you’re not affiliated with chooses to live his or her life, then you’re fighting a losing battle. People will always and should always choose to do what makes them happy, and in turn love who makes them happy. Let’s face it, it’s 2015. Why shouldn’t we accept people for who they really are?
The editorial board is composed of Miles Barnes, Alexandra Bartick and Stephanie Villiers.