Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. To gear up for the June 26 anniversary, msnbc will feature couples’ and individuals’ reflections on the impact the decision has had on their lives and the future of the LGBT rights fight in the United States.
In the last year, marriage equality has come to nine states. Federal judges have also struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, though their decisions are on hold pending appeals.
No ban on same-sex nuptials has survived in federal court since DOMA’s demise. And, as of this month, every remaining ban has been hit with a legal challenge. Both marriage equality advocates, and opponents alike, believe it won’t be long before the issue is once again before the U.S. Supreme Court, and ultimately legalized throughout the nation.
This Q & A has been edited for clarity.
Names: Ted McGuire and Micah Salkind
Date of wedding: October 6, 2012
Residence: Providence, RI
Professions: Ted is the President at Thames & Kosmos. Micah is a Ph.D. candidate in American studies at Brown University.
Below are Ted and Micah’s responses to the questions.
Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
The court doesn’t shape public perception, rather it reflects a tipping point in public perception. So while we have noticed a shift, we don’t attribute it to the court ruling.
What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
The ruling makes it easier for comfortably middle-class, and in many cases white, folks like us to gain the legal protections offered out of hand to heterosexual couples, but it still ties these basic privileges to a legal institution that can only become a priority once more basic needs for shelter, physical safety, and health are achieved.
What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
We need our president and other leaders to do more to strengthen this country’s withering safety net so that the most vulnerable members of our communities are able to enjoy the benefits of marriage if they want to. How can you even begin to think about state-sanctioned partnership when you are worrying about your immigration status, your basic health needs, or shelter? Fixing our immigration system, investing in public education and health, and buttressing support for affordable housing will help all LGBTQ Americans live better.
If you were married recently, how has it affected your lives?
We were together for seven years before we got married, and remained married in our eyes a year before our state acknowledged the validity of our union. While we are delighted that we will now be able to benefit from the tax breaks and legal protections that marriage provides, we never needed the state to validate our love. More than anything, it has meant a great deal to our straight family to see our partnership acknowledged by the state. It has also meant a great deal to our queer family members to be able to see our generation enjoy the benefits of their activism.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
We hope the generation to come [understands] that fights for LGBTQ equality are intimately tied to fights for immigrant rights, workers’ rights, and fights for racial and environmental justice.
Don’t miss yesterday’s couple: ‘There is still a lot of work to be done’