By STEVE NEWSOME
Volunteer • Greater Cincinnati Human Rights Campaign
The summer of 2015 could not have been a more historic year for gay and lesbian people in the United States.
A group of Cincinnatians who had long been fighting for recognition of their legal marriages went to the Supreme Court to plead their case.
In a monumental 5-4 decision, the high court held that marriage equality is indeed a constitutional right for all.
As we look to celebrate this victory and others like it at the seventh annual Human Rights Campaign gala March 5, we are reminded of the many faces of equality.
From Stonewall to Harvey Milk to Matthew Shepard, and to the many hometown heroes here in Cincinnati, there is much cause for celebration.
Despite our victories, much is at stake. We have worked hard to earn our liberty and expand rights for LGBT people everywhere. Opponents of equality, however, are working equally hard to spread hate and prevent progress.
In Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, a loving couple can now legally gather for their wedding on a Saturday only to find themselves in jeopardy of losing their jobs and homes on Monday. This is because in our region there are no protections under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in housing and employment. That must change and we must not stop fighting until it does.
There is, however, hope for passing these needed protections. Organizations like the Human Rights Campaign are working diligently at the federal, state and local levels to pass legislation that would provide necessary protections to LGBT citizens.
The Human Rights Campaign has even worked to craft an addition to Title XII that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to our nation’s federal protected classes.
This historic legislation is aptly named the Equality Act. The Equality Act, which was introduced by U.S, Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker, and Reps. David Cicilline and John Lewis, establishes explicit, permanent protections against discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity in matters of employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service.
In addition, it would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federal funding and access to public places. To learn more about the Equality Act, visit www.hrc.org/campaigns/support-the-equality-act
Now more than ever, is the time to increase your level of support for organizations like the Human Rights Campaign.
We are strongest when we are together. Together, we can push back against the claims for limitless religious discrimination, we can end homelessness in our youth and we can create a society where transgender people are not only accepted, but welcomed with open arms. That is our mission at HRC – to create a world in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.