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Robin McGehee Headshot

We Are More Than Marriage

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Last night, as I packed my bags and got the kids ready to board a plane for Jackson, Miss., I found myself struck by the "movement moment" we're currently living as we watch the extraordinary events happening in connection with the marriage equality cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

My family did not set out to pick a fight; others picked a fight with us. In November 2008 the work of an organized, discriminatory and hateful coalition produced a voter-approved California law that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in our state. Today, nearly five years later, we are almost able to finally raise our fists in victory, but the effort to gain equality is not over. In fact, marriage equality means little until full equality in all matters governed by civil law is a reality in all 50 states and D.C.

It is beautiful and inspiring to see all the LightToJustice.org events happening all over the country, and I can't wait to attend the event at the Mississippi State Capitol tonight. But I am reminded that we must continue our work until every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) person can live openly, safely and equally in the communities they call home.

Marriage equality means little if you can't put a photo of your spouse on your desk without risking being fired because you are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Marriage equality means little if you can't find work and therefore can't afford to live in a safe home because you're transgender. Marriage equality means little if the school you are attending is not required to have safe school options because federal legislation that protects LGBT students hasn't been passed. Marriage equality means little if you live in fear that the love of your life may soon be deported. Marriage equality means little if you are forbidden from adopting children. Do I need to go on? Our work is far from finished, because we are far from equal.

Don't get me wrong: I will be forever grateful that my children are able to witness what Chad Griffin, AFER, Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, DOMA plaintiff Edie Windsor and the ACLU have done and will do for our movement to gain the dignity and equality we deserve, but we cannot stop until the marriages we hold so dear do not cost us our life, our liberty or our ability to pursue happiness at work, in school and in the communities where we reside.

I am hopeful but with a heavy heart, because I know that as I flew from California to Mississippi, I journeyed from an area with almost complete equality to one where LGBT families like mine are still very much second-class citizens. We will get equal, but only if we continue to plan, organize and take action even after the decisions in these Supreme Court cases are written into the history books.