It has been half a year since same-sex couples won the right to get married – and divorced – in every state, including Virginia. The ruling was a large victory for those dedicated to LGBT rights. However, you may understand that in many ways, the fight to true equality is far from over.
The opinions and beliefs of others will not change overnight, despite a legal ruling. You may still face numerous cultural and discrimination issues, as highlighted in such high-profile cases as a bakery shop’s owners’ refusal to make a cake for a same-sex couple. Violence and hate crimes against LGBT individuals are common and prevalent across the country. Many activists have compared the issue to the challenges that interracial couples faced a few decades ago.
Domestic violence between same-sex couples is comparable to spousal abuse among straight couples. However, the issue may be treated differently by law enforcement or domestic violence counselors who are either discriminatory or do not know how to handle such incidents. Additionally, a high rate of those in the LGBT community suffers from mental health issues, including depression and thoughts of suicide. This is often due to negative feelings and treatment projected toward them by their loved ones or others in general.
There is also a legal aspect. According to The Washington Times, some lawmakers in Virginia have written bills that would give officials the right to refuse to sign a marriage license for same-sex couples if it contradicts their religious beliefs. Instead, same-sex couples would be directed to get a license from the vital records registrar. Detractors say that this legislation is likely to fuel the spirit of inequality that many LGBT people continue to experience. The governor of Virginia has said he would veto any such bill that passes the state legislature in efforts to make the state welcoming to anyone, whether they are straight or LGBT.