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.
Name: Odera Igbokwe
City, State: New York, NY
Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
Within my microcosm of society, I am lucky to be surrounded by intersectional LGBTQ people who have had the same attitude—an unwavering fire for equality. So the Supreme Court ruling felt more like a sigh of relief than a sudden change or epiphany.
The law is usually playing catch-up/lagging behind, so the ruling serves more as a reflection of current attitudes that can hopefully inspire more positive changes.
What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
The DOMA ruling was definitely a victory for marriage equality, but for LGBTQ rights as a whole there is a lot more work to be done.
What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
The conversation should never be exclusive to marital rights. Marriage shouldn’t be the holy grail of LGBTQ politics. The LGBTQ community needs to emphasize human rights for those who are most at risk, such as homeless LGBTQ youth living in poverty. Furthermore, we need to help empower the voices and agency of trans communities and LGBTQ people of color.
If you were married recently, how has it affected your lives?
I’m not married. But I imagine I would walk-strut-prance-do the running man down the aisle to CeCe Peniston’s “Finally” (Beyoncé’s “Grown Woman” dance break for exchanging of vows & Blackbox’s “Everybody Everybody” for the reception). Having a boo-thing that can legally be upgraded to married status would be pretty sweet as well—the perfect celebration for marriage equality.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
I want to live in a world where we can all express our queer robot love freely. Or at least reach the point where our civil rights aren’t even a question. I’m also dreaming up ways that we can actively and effectively show solidarity for the global LGBTQ community (especially those in nations with extremely homophobic and transphobic laws).
Don’t miss Maria Hinjosa’s profile: LGBT undocumented people are “among the most invisible”