This week, Alabama became the 37th state in country to legalize same-sex marriage. But Opinion writer Jonathan Capehart explains that the LGBT community still faces uphill legal battles.
Jonathan Capehart: On Monday, something extraordinary happened. Alabama became the 37th state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Alabama!
Yeah, sure, before the Supreme Court denied a request on Monday to stay a lower court ruling declaring the state’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional, the state’s chief judge, Roy Moore, told probate judges to not issue marriage licenses. In fact, a majority of the state’s counties ignored the Supreme Court and heeded Moore’s instruction.
That battle will sort itself out somehow. You can’t have lower courts defying the Supreme Court. It’s the very definition of lawless. But the tussle in the Cotton State highlights an even bigger issue for same-sex couples there and in other states where same-sex marriage is legal.
Now, remember, 37 states and the District of Columbia have marriage equality. . But only 21 of them and the District have anti-discrimination laws that cover sexual orientation.
That means gay and lesbian couples in the 16 states that have no such protection can marry legally today and be fired legally tomorrow just for being gay or lesbian. Kinda puts a damper on the honeymoon for millions of same-sex couples looking for the security that marriage provides.
The Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have solved this problem, passed the Senate in November 2013 with 64 votes. The bill went nowhere in the House.
I’m Jonathan Capehart. Opinion Writer for The Washington Post.