Eight Years After Historic Victory in Obergefell v. Hodges, Human Rights Campaign Celebrates Amidst State of Emergency For LGBTQ+ Americans

by Kathryn Smith

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, marks the eighth anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court case that granted same-sex couples the right to marry across the United States. Since the decision, public support for LGBTQ+ people has grown significantly, with nearly 80% of Americans favoring nondiscrimination laws that would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in employment, public accommodations, and housing — an 11% increase since 2015. Additionally, public polling has shown a historic increase in support for marriage equality, reaching an all-time high of 71% in 2022 according to Gallup. Marking this trend is the reintroduction of the Equality Act, which would end a patchwork of state and local laws by protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination nationwide and was reintroduced in Congress on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

June 26 is also the tenth anniversary of the historic United States v. Windsor decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and the 20th anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down a Texas law criminalizing same-sex sexual intimacy and invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states. These cases laid the groundwork, and built upon one another, in order to further equal rights for LGBTQ+ people.

In the eight years since the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, so much change has been made, and yet we still have so much more work to do. The Respect for Marriage Act was signed into law just a few months ago, the discriminatory ban on blood donation for gay and bisexual men was rolled back, and more people than ever are feeling safe enough to come out and publicly be who they were born to be. We even have the Equality Act being reintroduced in Congress. However, we also are living in a state of emergency. Our community faces rising violence, record breaking numbers of bills introduced in state legislatures targeting LGBTQ+ people with a horrific focus on transgender people, new legislative attacks in the US House of Representatives, and a well-funded campaign of conspiracy theories and disinformation focused on demonizing LGBTQ+ people. We have done so much work to get to where we are, and we will not stop until every LGBTQ+ person is safe, loved, and valued for who they are.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

On June 6, 2023, the Human Rights Campaign declared a National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States, due to the escalating state of crisis for the LGBTQ+ community. So far, over 540 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, over 220 of those bills specifically target transgender and non-binary people, and more than 75 of those bill have become anti-LGBTQ laws. HRC also released a guidebook for LGBTQ+ Americans choosing to visit or remain in dangerous states, as well as information on how to fight back against harmful bills. The full guidebook can be found here.

To learn more about the Equality Act, please visit here. To learn more about the National State of Emergency, please visit here.

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To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email press@hrc.org.