Over the past few years, the gay rights movement has made many strides towards equality. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which exclusively allowed civil recognition of heterosexual couples, unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees equal protection.
Since then, several court rulings took down gay marriage bans, and progressively, several states changed their views on LGBT recognition. As of today, 35 states recognize gay marriage, and seven states are currently reviewing their laws.
This has been a boost for the movement and a step forward in human rights. Some states now recognize the rights to relationships along with free speech, religion, self-expression, and democracy.
There is still much work to be done. As the LGBT movement gains momentum, now even acknowledged by religious leaders such as Pope Francis, there’s still much work to be done. Homophobic sentiment still exists, much of which derives from conservative ideology, religious doctrine, and the simple fear of the unknown. This ranges from bullying on an individual level to bills on a legislative level. Recently, a bill in Michigan is sparking controversy, as it allows discrimination of gays under religious expression.
In terms of progress, the U.S. has gotten far in securing the rights to gay marriage. The repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011 is a major victory regarding the right to serve. Along with legislative reform is the growing support of the movement under the human rights movement. Many reforms to promote LGBT recognition are currently underway. Just like the Civil Rights movement, it will take many more victories to declare a victory for the movement.
Kenneth Tran, Staff Writer
Senior Kenneth Tran is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. He is co-leader of the Amnesty International club and participates in the National Ocean Science Bowl.