With the Supreme Court's recent ruling not to interfere with the lower Court's decision on marriage equality, making way for same sex couples to be legally wed, it seems the path is now open for marriage equality in the State of North Carolina, among others. However, the ruling does little to change the overall landscape for those in the Queer community as a whole.
According to Matthew Comer, editor-in-chief of Charlotte's Q Notes, a GLBT publication, this is just the beginning of a long journey.
"Advocates across the state will have to determine what their priorities are for addressing equality issues -- like employment and housing discrimination -- that were often overshadowed by the debate on marriage. It will certainly make for interesting reporting here at our newspaper," said Comer.
Still, many in the GLBTQA community are celebrating the victory, like those at the ACLU.
Kevin Eason, director of operations at the ACLU North Carolina, said that "it had been an exciting day around the office," and pointed me towards an ACLU press release that said, in part, "North Carolina is one of five states in the Fourth Circuit. The Supreme Court's announcement means that all states in the Fourth Circuit, including North Carolina, are bound by the Fourth Circuit's ruling that struck down Virginia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples."
According to the press release, Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina said "The Supreme Court's decision means that the freedom to marry for same-sex couples must be recognized here in North Carolina without delay".
And yet while many are rightfully celebrating, others recognize that, as a people, the queer community still has so much to overcome.
When Parker Hurley, a Ph.D. student in educational studies with a concentration in higher education at The University of North Carolina turned on his Facebook this morning, he said he somehow missed the news of the Supreme Court's decision.
"Instead, my newsfeed has been lit up with the disproportionate murder of trans women of color--just 7 in the past few months here in this country. Marriage does not guarantee the safety and interrupt the violence that people of color, especially trans women of color disproportionately face."
Hurley continued, "For many, marriage is a distraction, a way to funnel money and resources away from the war against anti-black racism, mass incarceration and deportation and the criminalization of queer and trans people of color in general. It's hard to talk about marriage, when I see queer and trans people dying."
And so, while I am indeed proud and thankful for the efforts of the ACLU and this victory we can all be happy about today, we have to ask ourselves as a community if this is as good as it can get. Or should we be asking for more?
Folks like Hurley say they would love to see the same amount of support, attention, money and resources to be given in support of social and economic justice for Trans and Queer people of color.
The real question for the Queer community at large is what will we do after marriage? Will the White, Middle-class and Upper Middle-Class, Non-Trans, Gay and Lesbians flood the streets and legislature demanding economic justice for trans and queer people of color?
Hurley says, "I hope so. But a gay marriage movement has not articulated that strategic vision. Making marriage a very shortsighted win, if it is a win at all. Sanctioning the lives, safety and families of some communities and not of others, can only provide a virtual equality. Not liberation and never freedom from violence."
These are great questions to ask ourselves today--especially for the great number of folks who have been told via State law they were different enough not to have their love recognized.
As for the rest of the Queer community, today's victory for those who want marriage equality does not come close to the kind of justice they seek.