Today marks the five-year anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges, the historic Supreme Court decision affirming the nationwide freedom for same-sex couples to marry.
On this day five years ago, LGBTQ individuals and allies paraded into the streets flying colorful flags, and buildings throughout U.S. cities cast glittering rainbows across skylines.
This landmark case upheld the notion that same-sex marriage was covered by the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. It guaranteed marriage as a fundamental liberty—therefore, protecting the right to marry, whether it is a same-sex or opposite-sex union.
Prior to the Court’s decision, groups of same-sex couples tried the avenue of suing individual state agencies in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, challenging the constitutionality of their refusal to recognize or legitimize same-sex marriage. Starting in 2012, lower courts ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, protecting the right same-sex marriage—until the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ reversal in August 2014 sent the case to the Supreme Court. There, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, with a close 5-4 majority, legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued the fundamental right to marry is “inherent in the liberty of the person” and therefore states are prohibited from depriving any person of “life, liberty or property without due process of law.”
Five Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Marriage Equality
Usually, June marks the donning of rainbow apparel and a collective wave of pride––by way of national parades, concerts and celebratory gatherings. In the midst of Pride Month and this crucial anniversary, there is cause for celebration. But a global pandemic has made it difficult to participate in typical festivities. This has left many wondering: How do I celebrate Pride from home? How can I make a difference from my desk?
Here are some of the best ways to celebrate LGBTQ+ equality on this historic day, and every day.
1. Attend Virtual Pride
There are many virtual events celebrating pride in all its glory! The New York Pride Festival—celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NYC Pride March—is going live virtually on June 28, with Dan Levy and Janelle Monáe headlining. Check out WABC Channel 7 and abc7ny.com to watch the live performances.
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Another great event to attend is Netflix Pride, broadcast on Netflix’s Youtube channel on June 30. It features some of the best, like Laverne Cox and Queer Eye’s Fab Five.
Here’s a list of other virtual pride events.
2. Support LGBTQ Writers
In Oprah Magazine, LGBTQ authors shared books that changed their lives. Some favorites included:
- “Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives” (1978) by Nancy Adair and Casey Adair (originally created as a documentary);
- “Canary: The Story of a Transsexual” (1974) by Canary Conn; and
- “Nightwood” (1936) by Djuna Barnes.
It’s crucial to support the telling of LGBTQ stories, as books are a window into others’ humanity. Here are additional book suggestions to support LGBTQ authors.
3. Support LGBTQ Artists
Now is the time to support LGBTQ art in all forms. Another way to do this is by purchasing art from queer artists on Etsy.
4. Donate and Advocate for Needed Legislation
Continue to keep track of anti-LGBTQ legislation––and work to fight against it.
Donations are a great way to make a change. Here are some charities working toward progress and equality—from social support providers like The Trevor Project to legal services like the Transgender Law Center.
5. Virtual Drag Shows
With most gay bars closed, drag shows have now gone entirely virtual. Keep an eye out for your favorite drag queens. For example, 3 Dollar Bill is featuring some of the most glamorous queens going live on Friday, June 26, on Facebook to celebrate!
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