The discrimination against marriage equality for identities that don’t fit the heteronormative script was rampant in the U.S many years ago. It wasn’t until the early 60s when activist groups started challenging these prejudice ideologies and policy changes became a grassroots movement. Prior to this, the federal government would not hire people who were openly gay or permit them to serve in the military. Police routinely raided gay bars, often beating and sometimes killing whomever they found inside, stripping them of their rights and shunning them from their communities. Only a handful of gay-rights organizations existed, and their membership was sparse. Most Americans would have considered the idea of same-sex marriage facetious, a certain impossibility. But in 2015, these facts from past days have changed dramatically.
Today, opinion polls consistently show a majority of Americans endorsing LGBTQ+ marriages. Among those asked between the ages of 18 to 29, support is as high as 70 percent. President Barack Obama has endorsed marriage equality, something that has yet to happen in that power position. Marriage Equality has been a slow and steady progression around the world, but the good news is that every day the goal seems closer than ever before. That goal is to make marriage and equal rights available for all identities. As of early 2015, same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states in America. This includes:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Legal challenges are pending in the remaining 13 states. We still have a long way to go until Marriage Equality is nationwide, but the good news is that there is widespread advocacy working to make this happen. The American Civil Liberties Union, an organization working towards making marriage equality available for everyone no matter where they are located in America. Their goal is to create an America where LGBT people can live openly, our identities, relationships, and families are respected, and there is fair treatment on the job and in schools, housing, public places, and health care.
In terms of international marriage equality, 16 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Uruguay) have legalized same-sex marriage, as well as parts of Mexico and the Untied Kingdom. In the United Kingdom, same-sex-marriage is legal in England, Scotland, and Wales. And as of recent news, a marriage equality law will come into effect in Finland in 2016.