Here are six battles LGBT people still have to fight now that marriage equality is the law of the land

Congratulations, LGBT Americans! The Supreme Court has ruled that no state can deny us the right to marry our partners. This is a momentous day, to be sure, but before you lift those glasses of Prosecco and toast the end of straight people's deadlock on legal marriage, let's take a moment to acknowledge that -- while this is a marvelous victory for many of us -- our battle to be equal citizens of this country is far from over. The right to marry is a key step, but there are other battles we still have to fight.


1. Employment discrimination: No state in the union can deny you a marriage license, but in 32 states, you can still be forced out of your job for having a different sexual orientation or gender presentation than your employer thinks you should.
Tristan Broussard is a Louisiana trans man who is suing his former employer for firing him. Financial services company Tower Loan dismissed Broussard for refusing to return to a female gender presentation and for not wearing dresses and other feminine attire. Under current Louisiana law, this is perfectly legal.
Many local governments throughout the U.S. are currently enacting nondiscrimination laws that forbid discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing, health care and a myriad of other situations and services that straight, cisgendered people take for granted every day.
Sadly, however, angry Christian conservatives are doing everything in their power to strike down and invalidate these laws in places like North Carolina, Texas, and Arkansas.
2. Trans rights: Few communities remain as marginalized and misunderstood in the United States as trans men and women. Argentinian psychologist Graciela Balestra estimated in 2012 that transgender persons worldwide have an average life expectancy of "30 to 32 years." In the first six weeks of 2015, five trans women of color were murdered in the United States, and those are just the deaths that were reported.
Even with the visibility of trans superstars like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, anti-trans animus is still sadly common. Fox News has devoted an entire subset of its programming schedule to anti-trans alarmism, echoing angry bigots like Michelle Duggar, who insist that allowing transgender people to use facilities that correspond to their expressed gender is going to expose children to sexual predators.
And frankly, who would know better about exposing children to sexual predators than the Duggars?
3. Discrimination in our own ranks: It's time for all you guys with "No fats, no femmes" or "Whites only, please: It's not racist, it's just a preference!" on your Grindr profiles to "get woke," as the kids say. If you're a whiter-than-white one percenter who writes huge checks to anti-LGBT crackpots like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) when you're not cleaning dead twinks out of your bathtub, you're not helping the cause. In fact, you're part of the problem.
Which brings us to:
4. #BlackLivesMatter: Earlier this month, it emerged that the nation's largest and most powerful LGBT rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), did an internal audit and found that, essentially, the group is a club for wealthy white men.
BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner said, "Staff at the Human Rights Campaign last fall described the working environment at the nation’s largest LGBT rights group as 'judgmental,' 'exclusionary,' 'sexist,' and 'homogenous,' according to a sharply critical report that was commissioned by HRC and obtained by BuzzFeed News."
HRC has run into intense criticism in the past from activists who see the organization as too corporate, too white, and too interested in furthering the interests of the wealthy and well-off members of the LGBT community and ignoring the panoply of difficulties facing community members of color and those living in poverty.
Esperanza Garcia and Ty Brooks wrote earlier this year in the Advocate, "Push has come to shove. As the Black Lives Matter movement gains strength nationwide, white gays and lesbians can no longer stand on the sidelines. The assault on black lives is an LGBT issue. The average life expectancy of a black transgender woman is 35 years. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence programs reported that in 2013, 72 percent of anti-LGBT homicides were against trans women, 89 percent of whom were transgender women of color."
"Will white gays and lesbians join the struggle for black lives?" they asked. "Or will they remain complicit with a status quo in which black people are killed weekly by police or vigilantes in the United States?"
5. Equal pay for everybody: When Patricia Arquette made her impassioned speech at the 2015 Oscars ceremony about equal pay for women, then somewhat clumsily urged "all the women in America and all the men that love women, and all the gay people, and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now" to help ensure that all people are paid the same amounts for the same work, regardless of gender.
Black activists angrily responded that Arquette seemed to be assuming that women of color have not hitherto been a part of this battle, in spite of the fact that black and hispanic women make even less money than white women do for every dollar made by a white man.
LGBT activists argued that we are also victims of wage discrimination in this country.
In the U.S. and Canada, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make less money than their heterosexual counterparts. About five percent less income per year, actually.
"A study recently published in Gender and Society found that in Canada, gay men with partners earn about 5 percent less than straight men with partners, while coupled lesbian women earn roughly 8 percent more than coupled straight women," wrote Joe Pinsker in the Atlantic.
"In the American pay hierarchy, the pattern is the same," Pinsker continued. "Heterosexual men typically earn more than gay men, who earn more than lesbian women, who in turn earn more than heterosexual women. In the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, first introduced to Congress in 1994 and reintroduced many times since then, still hasn’t passed."
So, while Arquette may have ruffled feathers in some quarters with her wage-equality call to arms, she had a point. Pay disparity is an issue that crosses lines of color and orientation. People of all races, genders, and orientations should work together to see that everyone is paid fairly for their work.
6. The stragglers: And finally the bad news. Just because the Supreme Court says that there are no sound legal justification for denying a whole subset of American society the right to marry, it doesn't mean that everyone is going to cooperate.
In Texas, Republican lawmakers are urging Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to pass legislation that will allow them to defy any court ruling that supports marriage equality.
North Carolina and Utah have passed laws that allow court officials to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Some Florida counties stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether rather than allow same-sex marriages to proceed.
Just like certain Southern states adopted extreme measures to fight the Supreme Court's order to desegregate in 1954's Brown v. Board of Education ruling, it should not surprise anyone when, in the months ahead, the former slave states come up with a array of legally questionable ways to try and prevent same-sex couples from formalizing their relationships under the law.
But, in the meantime, let's lift those glasses now and drink a toast to equal rights for equal love and equal marriage for all!