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.
Names: Danielle and Aisha Moodie-Mills
Date of wedding: 8.7.2010
Residence: Washington, D.C.
Professions: Founders, Politini Media
The Moodie-Mills chose to respond collectively.
Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
Absolutely. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling several state courts have ruled in favor of marriage equality using the SCOTUS’s decision as a barometer for their cases—proving that there is no legal reason to prohibit LGBT people from marrying. It’s hard to believe that almost four years ago when we were married there were only six states including the District of Columbia that allowed same-sex marriage and now there are 17 states and D.C. That’s a tremendous amount of progress in an incredibly short period of time. We’re extremely proud to use our voices and images to continue to challenge stereotypes about our community and create cultural shifts that move our country closer to its founding ideals of equality and justice for all.
What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
The DOMA ruling only applies to the federal government, which must now treat all married couples the same. But the decision stopped short of extending marriage equality to all couples, and has instead left the decision to recognize same-sex marriages up to each state. The consequence is that there is a patchwork of marriage laws around the country and LGBT couples in most states are still being denied the opportunity to formalize their relationships. While many of these couples are taking their cases to their state courts the Supreme Court’s ruling could have eliminated this additional hurdle.
What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
Marriage alone is not a silver bullet, so there is a lot more that needs to be done. The next frontier for LGBT equality is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). No one should be fired from their job because of who they are or whom they love. While President Obama has used his executive powers to institute employment changes for federal employees we need to employ these changes for LGBT people outside of the federal sector as well. LGBT Americans should not be denied the opportunity to provide for their families and access the American dream.
If you were married recently, how has it affected your lives?
We were together for five years before we got married, but solidifying our relationship in front of our families and friends really shifted something in us. There is a sense of calm and peace that transpires when you know that your relationship is not only celebrated but protected as well.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
Our hopes are that they will not have to fight the battle for equality again. That their lives will be about preserving justice and equality for all but not retrying the battles we’ve spent our careers working for. We hope that as our world continues to become increasingly connected that we become more open to our differences—embracing everyone’s humanity and desire to live the life they want.
More #msnbcpride: A public marriage goes a long way in inspiring others.