A few summers ago, I worked at a major LGBTQ organization. I understand many people’s concerns about these sorts of organizations. We do need to continue to hold these organizations accountable, but that does not mean that they are not doing good work in the meantime. These groups, like the Human Rights Campaign, may be devoting a lot of resources to the marriage fight right now. However, no one would ever argue that the battle ends with marriage. These groups are not disappearing anytime soon, and they will continue the struggle for equality. Marriage just happens to be an area where we have been winning recently.
I also sympathize with the plethora of problems facing the LGBTQ community beyond marriage. However, it is unreasonable to attack progress in one area because it does not make progress in all areas. Marriage just happens to have a direct legal solution. In his op-ed “Marriage Is Not the Answer,” (11/19/13) Kris Rosentel singles out Roe v. Wade and the Civil Rights Act for not solving society’s underlying discrimination. He is right, but they did help people, and to this day they continue to help people. Both of these monumental cases did not help everyone in society and they did not address every issue each of those groups faced. Similarly, marriage equality does not address all of the issues the LGBTQ community faces, but it is a start. We cannot let perfection be the enemy of the good.
Some progress is better than none. I find that this article forgets what the marriage equality movement really stands for. It is not for marginalizing people. It is for the two men whose complicated adoption process was made even harder because they could not get married; it is for the couple who were trying to figure out who got custody of their children if anything happened to them; it is for the man I met who had to watch his partner die on the other side of a hospital window because they were not married.
These are not abstract examples. These are all people with whom I have met and talked. When I talk to others about marriage equality, I think about them.
Is there still work to do in other areas? Yes, but we should never discourage progress when it comes to equality.
—Robbie Newell, Class of 2014