In 2015, marriage equality was legalized in the United States. Prior to this, certain states legalized marriage for same sex couples, but it was not a national right. Marriage as an institution has been policed by the government throughout the history of the U.S. Until the 1967 landmark case Loving v. Virginia, people of different ethnicities, specifically Black and White people, were not allowed to marry, which today seems absurd, but this is yet another example of how laws and policies serve as mechanisms of social control. The 2015 Marriage Equality Act allowed for same sex couples to access all rights and privilege of opposite sex couples receive as a result of getting married. Sanctioning marriage at the legal level for same sex couples was a major accomplishment that has benefitted the queer community. Currently, there are currently 31 countries that have legalized same-sex marriage (HRC.org).
While many view same-sex marriage as a major win within the LGBTQ+ community, many also agree that there is still a lot more work to be done to garner equal rights. Current LGBTQ+ movements take a variety of different approaches, which focus on multiple issues. The Human Rights Campaign remains a notable organization, and is often credited to be the largest advocacy group for the LGBTQ+ community. They keep track of current legislative issues that impact the community, and also keep track of where states stand on specific forms of legislation. These topics include employment, housing, anti-conversion therapy, education, hate crimes, discrimination in child welfare services, and more (HRC n.d.).
While big cities like San Francisco and New York are filled with a rich queer history, queer people are present all over the world, and often are not as fortunate to reside in those places. There are often local national organizations accessible via the Internet that one can visit to find support and solidarity. These organizations can provide support for several aspects of life and connect queer people to others. In Marin County, an area just north of San Francisco, where this textbook originated from, exists the Spahr Center. The Spahr Center is charged with “serving, supporting and empowering” the LGBT community present in the county, along with those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and provide a number of other social services.
There is usually some proposed legislation surrounding the rights of the queer community in motion as well, whether it be local, statewide, or nationwide. The community is made up of a variety of people with differing skill sets, and their organizing has always been strong with fruitful results, despite always having to fight an uphill battle to seek change. While marriage equality did become the law of the land in 2015, speculation is brewing that since the Supreme Court may attempt to overturn Roe V Wade, that overturning marriage equality may be next on their agenda.