July 25, 2015
But as we’ve learned with the marriage movement, the long game is worth it.Over ten years ago, we changed the world when we won the Goodridge marriage victory in Massachusetts. Last month, we did it again, this time at the highest court in our nation. Even before Mary Bonauto’s brilliant arguments before the Supreme Court, many of the commentators were already saying that victory was inevitable. Well, just ten years ago, many of those same folk were saying that that our dream of being able to marry the person we loved was impossible. GLAD has shown time and time again that with strategic thinking, hard work, dedicated supporters and a long view, we are able to make the impossible seem inevitable, in just a decade. What are the dreams that we, together, can make a reality across the country, in the next ten years? We dream of a day when your sexual orientation or gender identity is a non-issue in your workplace, where you live, and on Main Street. That’s why just this month, we filed a first-of-its-kind, sex discrimination, federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of Jackie Cote, against her employer Walmart. Walmart denied Jackie health insurance benefits for her wife Dee when they needed it the most, after Dee was diagnosed with cancer, even though Walmart would have provided those same benefits if Jackie were a man. If we win, Jackie and Dee will no longer have to worry about paying back the over $150,000 of medical bills they currently owe, especially while Dee continues to battle cancer. And, if we are successful, we will help build the legal case that discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender employees is already encompassed within existing sex discrimination laws. We dream of a day when there is zero stigma and discrimination associated with being HIV-positive. That’s why GLAD is working with our lead sponsors, Representative Sarah Peake and Senator Mark Montigny, to pass legislation to ensure that our longest term survivors of HIV can get medical treatment for a debilitating and disfiguring side effect of life-saving HIV medications, called lipodystrophy. We dream of a day when trans people can be who they are, without obstacles or discrimination. That’s why GLAD is helping bring a constitutional challenge, in Pennsylvania, to the targeted and offensive exclusion of trans people from legal protections under the Americans with Disability Act. We dream of a day when all families are protected and legally recognized, no matter what they look like or how they are formed. We are so excited that just last month, we helped pass a complete overhaul of family law in Maine, to include our families, as well as rewrite of ART laws in New Hampshire last year. Finally, we dream of a time when the most vulnerable in our community – our youth, elders, people of color, immigrants and low-income people – are treated with respect and dignity, in every area of life. That’s why GLAD launched a campaign to establish GSAs in middle schools across Massachusetts, where almost none exist. Not high schools, but middle schools – before the culture of bullying can firmly take root. It’s also why GLAD is working to fight housing discrimination against LGBT seniors – so that the generation who fought so hard to come out of the closet isn’t forced back in, to be able to find housing. We all know that these next victories aren’t quick – they take time. But as we’ve learned with the marriage movement, the long game is worth it. Our successes now will become the foundation of our movement’s progress for the next ten years. Together, we’ll win those impossible victories that will become inevitabilities.