“How long have you been together?” I asked David and Patrick who were in for a wedding ring consultation. “About 22 years,” David responded, and I felt my eyes water hearing this. It was 2012, the year that same-sex marriage was legalized in Washington. That year I met with so many couples who had been together for decades and were finally able to marry the person who they loved and wanted to spend their life with. During each of these consultations that year, I was touched by their stories. It meant so much seeing the joy and excitement in their faces, and imagining what those rings meant to them. But, legalizing same-sex marriage was just one step. We still have a ways to go towards equal rights for LGBTQ people.
Right now, in 31 states, it is legal to deny someone housing or employment, or even fire someone from their job, because of their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is still not a protected class under federal anti-discrimination laws. Many states have sexual orientation as part of their anti-discrimination laws, but the majority do not.
But—You Can Help Effect Change !
- Give to non-profits that are working to secure equal rights for LGBTQ people, like Lambda Legal and Freedom for all Americans.
- If you live in a state that does not have LGBTQ non-discrimination laws, contact your senator and representatives to let them know that this is an important issue to you. Find out if you live in one of those states here, and find out who to contact here & here.
- Patronize businesses that support full rights for LGBTQ people. Check out Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index to find out which business support LGBTQ equality.
- Get to your nearest pride parade. If you’re not queer, you can still go and be a straight ally. Last year, riding in the Seattle Pride Parade, I was touched seeing so many straight allies in the crowds. I can't tell you how much it means just to feel accepted.
I don’t normally use this space to get this political or personal, but I believe so strongly in equal rights for everyone. This is a concern and a driving force for me every day of the year.
Thank you for reading this.