June 26, 2016 marks an exciting date: the one-year anniversary of the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, in which the United States Supreme Court granted the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples in all 50 states. The past year has seen plenty of forward strides for LGBTQ equality, not to mention a record number of marriages. However, some sobering stats about same sex marriage remind us that the SCOTUS decision isn’t enough to grant full equality to all LGBTQ citizens. It’s still a fantastic step in the right direction, certainly, but there is still plenty of progress to be made.
Unfortunately, same sex spouses do not enjoy the full rights afforded to their straight peers. For instance, not all states have clear laws about hospital visitation rights for married same sex couples, and a small but vocal percentage of Americans remain opposed to the idea of same sex marriage on principle. In fact, there are still a few sneaky clerks who will not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, effectively putting their personal opinions above the rule of the United States Supreme Court. (The clerks' persistence would almost be admirable if it weren’t so wrong-headed).
To be sure, bigotry and prejudice are powerful forces that have shaped a great deal of American history. But they rarely get the last word. Love, in all its forms, can prevail over even the stubbornest stronghold of stupidity. Here’s to many more years of increasing equality for all Americans.
1. Same Sex Marriages Are Up 33 Percent In Past Year
First, a stat worth celebrating: in the year since the SCOTUS ruling, same-sex marriage has increased, and almost half of same-sex couples who live together are now married, according to a recent Gallup poll. There is one caveat, though: the 33 percent increase was slightly higher in states that previously did not have same-sex marriage, as explained in USA Today. Keep in mind that many of those couples most likely wanted marriage long before it was made legal in their state.
2. 15 States Are Unclear On Hospital Visitation Rights
Being able to visit your spouse in the hospital is one of the basic rights of marriage. But according to The Guardian, 15 U.S. states still have unclear laws regarding the hospital visitation rights of gay spouses. Most people would agree that the "for better or for worse" aspect of marriage should grant spouses the ability to be supportive during health scares.
3. 37 Percent Of U.S. Adults Still Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
To start with good news: According to the Pew Research Center, most U.S. adults have steadily become more accepting of same sex marriage. The upward trend is seen across gender, generational, religious, political, and racial lines. And while the majority of Americans are in favor of same sex marriage, as of 2016 there were still 37 percent of U.S. adults in opposition to it, as the Pew Research Center further noted. Sure, the opposing side is in the minority, but it would be nice to see that percentage drop even lower in the years ahead.
4. Half Of Non-LGBTQ U.S. Adults Believe Gay People Have Totally Equal Rights
Unfortunately, it's easy for people outside of the LGBT movement to reflect on Obergefell v. Hodges and think, "Well, that's settled! All of my gay and lesbian friends have the same rights as me now." Although it would be nice if that were the case, according to the Daily Beast, more than half of all U.S. states lack any non-discrimination laws concerning sexual orientation. Marriage equality was a huge win, to be sure, but there are still appalling gaps in the everyday rights of LGBT people everywhere.
5. Less Than 100 Percent Of LGBT Americans Can Marry In Any County
Even one year on, there are still a few staunch holdouts on the marriage license equality front. Although the exact figures are difficult to pin down, there are still counties in some states like Alabama and Texas where clerks refuse to issue marriage licenses to LGBT couples, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. What's it going to take for couples everywhere to really have full marriage rights?