2015 has seen some incredible progress toward equality for the LGBT community. In June, a ruling by the Supreme Court made it legal for gay couples to marry in all 50 states — a huge win by any measure. Unfortunately, this victory also highlighted how LGBT people in America are still discriminated against in many ways.
John Oliver highlighted this ongoing struggle on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich has been praised for saying he attended a wedding of a friend "who happens to be gay" as it isn't his place to judge. A few of the others have said they would attend a same-sex wedding, should they be invited.
Other candidates, however, have danced around the topic completely.
When asked if he would attend a gay wedding, Scott Walker (R-Wisc) responded in a way that was not very clear. "Well, in terms of, it's certainly a personal issue, for a family member. Tonette and I and her family already had a family member who's had a reception, I haven't been to a wedding. But that's true even though my position still is that marriage is defined between a man and a woman, I support the Constitution of the state, but for someone I love, we've been to a reception."
While it prevents him from creating a sound byte that would eventually be used against him should he advance in the primaries, it's clear that this deflection of epic proportions doesn't mean anything good for the LGBT community, should Walker find himself in the White House.
It may seem like the personal beliefs of one man are inconsequential, it's important to remember that life is really just a series of one person interacting with other people. One person choosing to discriminate against other people has an extraordinary capacity to reduce their quality of life.
One lesbian couple from Michigan described their infant getting rejected from a pediatrician's office due to their sexual orientation.
While the physician's actions are deplorable, he's hardly alone. Many others have denied gays access to healthcare, housing, jobs, and a variety of other sectors that heterosexuals typically don't have to worry about.
Many of the people who choose to discriminate against homosexuals do so for one reason, and it usually involves misinterpreting one very important document...
The Constitution of the United States does grant freedom of religious expression and freedom of speech, which many are citing in their decisions to deny equality to others. Unfortunately, these freedoms are not absolute. Erroneously believing that it does is tantamount to a sub-5th grade understanding of the most important document that exists in our country.
"The Constitution isn't the star in Super Mario Bros.," Oliver notes. "It doesn't make you invincible so you can just do whatever the f*ck you want."
There are certain states that prohibit discrimination against LGBT, but the irregularity in rules makes it confusing to know what protections these individuals actually have.
Getting things squared away on a Federal level is just what the Equality Act would do.
This bill would add 'sexual orientation' to the list of qualities over which a person cannot be discriminated, like age, race, and gender.
Unfortunately, this bill has not been sponsored by any of the 246 Republicans in the House. Given that the House has a GOP majority, the future of the bill doesn't look bright.
Check out the full video here:
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