How has the legalization of same-sex marriage affected the LGBTQ+ movement?
The legalization of same-sex marriage was an important step forward in the fight for equality, but it also marked a turning point. The decision to legalize same-sex marriage set in motion a series of events that changed the way LGBT people are treated in our country and abroad.
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One of the most dramatic changes has been in state policy. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, a growing number of states had banned or restricted LGBT people from obtaining marriage licenses.
In the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court ruling recognizing marriage equality, many of these state laws were reversed, allowing LGBT couples to obtain marriage licenses in their states of residence. In the United States, this change took place through a series of legal battles that were often highly political.
Some of these battles involved religious groups. Traditionally, religious institutions such as churches and mosques have declined to marry homosexual or lesbian couples. However, these organizations do not have to conduct marriage ceremonies if they do not believe in it.
Others have supported the legalization of same-sex marriage, even if they disagreed with it. A large part of the legal fight for same-sex marriage involved removing sodomy laws, which criminalized private consensual relations between homosexual and lesbian couples.
Sodomy laws tended to be the primary impediment to legalizing same-sex marriage in many countries, and in some cases, the only impediment. These laws were based on the premise that same-sex desire was a mental disorder and thus a violation of public safety.
The goal of eradicating sodomy laws was a key component of achieving broader acceptance for LGBT individuals within society. Throughout the decades that followed, state courts began to slowly eliminate these laws.
Nevertheless, these efforts were not enough to achieve full civil rights for the LGBT community. Despite the advances made by state governments, the movement was still facing many challenges.
A significant obstacle was the fact that most American state legislatures remained conservative and were not inclined to support the goal of LGBT equality, especially as it related to marriage. This created a critical need to develop effective advocacy capacity at the state level.
To address this, a group of foundations that fund LGBTQ causes formed the Civil Marriage Collaborative to create a grantmaking initiative that could pool funds and build a state-by-state movement for marriage equality.
This effort was a success, as it led to the enactment of pro-LGBT marriage legislation in a number of states. It also provided a model for future efforts, which would soon begin to take shape in many other statehouses across the nation.
The movement was able to overcome the obstacles in these early years by focusing on three main goals. The first was to raise awareness of the issue among both LGBT people and the general public. The second was to build up state-based advocacy capacity to be able to combat the challenges that would arise in the months ahead.