, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

January 3, 2013

Letter: Gay marriage gains belie other obstacles

To the editor:

With a majority of Americans now expressing support for marriage equality for gay couples, all eyes are on the Supreme Court.

In the wake of the states of Maine, Washington, Maryland, and Delaware joining the ranks of states whose citizens have already spoken, via the ballot box, in support of marriage equality, it is only a matter of time until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue.

It is absolutely amazing just how quickly public opinion has shifted on marriage equality. In October 2004, national polls showed more than 60 percent of Americans opposed gay marriage, while only 33 percent supported it. In October 2012, many of those same polls showed that, on average, 54 percent of Americans support marriage equality, while 43 percent remain opposed. Among voters under forty, nearly two thirds support full marriage equality for gay couples.

What prompted such a dramatic and rapid shift? The answer is obvious. As more and more people have come out to family and friends, the ripple effects have reached far and wide.

There is a bittersweet irony in these major shifts in attitude becoming so prevalent this year, 35 years after the assassination of Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay elected official in San Francisco.

Harvey was a firm believer that, if gay Americans were ever going to obtain our full place at the table, we had to come out of the closet. Harvey was spot on. The growing support for marriage equality is a direct result of people heeding his message all those years ago. Still, the gay community continues to face numerous challenges that cannot be lost sight of or ignored.

For example, there remain 29 states where laws are on the books that give employers the right to fire a gay employee, or an employee they think is gay, and the employee has no legal recourse. In several states, people who married someone of the opposite sex before accepting their homosexuality involved in divorce proceedings cannot only lose custody of their children, they can be denied visitation rights if their being gay is revealed to the court.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters/My View

NDN Video
Crews rescue elderly woman trapped inside flooded minivan Taylor Swift Reveals New Album 1989 is Full-On Pop Serious Flash Flooding in Arizona Man Poses for New Mugshot Photo Wearing Shirt with Old Mugshot Photo On It Disquieting times for Malaysia's 'fish listeners' Caught On Camera: Johnny Manziel Obscene Gesture Rita Ora Embraces the Ice Bucket Challenge Bird surprises soccer player Ashley Young during game Chapter Two: Never too late to become an artist Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Viral, Raises Over $15M For ALS Damaging Winds Stop the Show! In the Cockpit of the Air Force's Elite Squadron Pathologist: Autopsy Shows Teen Repeatedly Shot Christina Aguilera Has a Baby Girl Marvel Fans: Watch Dancing Baby Groot Over and Over! Raw: Protesters, Police Clash in Ferguson Gov. Rick Perry responds to indictment Breaking: Officials release name of police officer in Ferguson shooting Man Shot As Protesters Defy Curfew in Ferguson Justin Bieber & Selena Gomez Back Together for Two ‘Secret’ Dates