Post submitted by Maureen McCarty, former HRC Deputy Director of Marketing
Exactly one year ago, Obama made history as the first sitting American President to come out in support of marriage equality.
As a community, we have seen monumental changes over the last year: Today same-sex couples in 11 states plus D.C. can legally marry; 54 U.S. Senators publically support marriage equality, alongside 185 members of theHouse of Representatives, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton joined HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign; former President Bill Clinton has completely disavowed the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and, of course, Obama’s complete support of marriage equality.
Though Obama Administration has long advocated for the LGBT community, prior to his interview with Robin Roberts of ABC News, the President had yet to come out so unequivocally in support of loving, committed same-sex couples. Obama has continued to reinforced his support for LGBT Americans, from his invocation of Stonewall in his inauguration speech, to his call for LGBT-inclusive immigration reform, to even congratulating NBA’s Jason Collins for coming out as gay.
While some pundits predicted the President’s support for marriage equality would hinder his campaign, he, alongside fair-minded and openly LGB members of Congress were reelected across the country.
The landscape is changing and will continue to slide toward equality.
Studies show that support for marriage equality – at 58 percent according to a Washington Post/ ABC News survey -- is at an all-time high. Moreover, 73 percent of millennials support marriage equality, according Pew Research Center study.
While having a seated President standing so publically on the side of LGBT Americans marked a major historic moment for the community, it is not enough.
Much work remains before LGBT Americans will realize treatment as fully equal citizens. In a few weeks the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor. There is no state law protecting you from being fired because of your sexual orientation in 29 states, or because you are transgender in 34 states. LGBT Americans still face an unfair tax burden, forced to pay hundreds, even thousands more in federal taxes each year. LGBT youth are still bullied and tormented at school at a rate much higher than their straight classmates. We’re still exporting hateful, anti-LGBT rhetoric abroad. And loving, committed couples still cannot marry in all 50 states.
Until that day we will continue our mission to change hearts and minds to bring full equality to all LGBT Americans.