Still Not Equal: A Report from the Red States
After Marriage Equality: The Future of LGBT Rights, NYU Press, 2016
19 Pages Posted: 11 May 2017 Last revised: 8 Jun 2017
Date Written: January 1, 2016
This chapter considers how the LGBT movement might pursue legal equality — alongside lived equality — now that same-sex couples enjoy the freedom to marry across the United States. In particular, it focuses on the passage of antidiscrimination laws in swing states and red states. While this objective may sound familiar — perhaps even passé — the political dynamics and strategic dilemmas that it presents are unprecedented. As one activist admits, the challenges now facing LGBT people in swing states and red states are “unlike anything we’ve faced before.” The chapter begins by explaining why the LGBT movement is likely to turn “back to work” after marriage equality by focusing on the passage of antidiscrimination laws. Next, it argues that the LGBT movement will undergo two strategic shifts in pursuing this work — first, an increased investment in local rather than national lobbying, and second, an increased investment in red states and swing states, as opposed to blue states. Finally, the chapter claims that the LGBT movement will confront two strategic dilemmas in pursuing this work — whether to lobby for piecemeal bills or package deals, and how to use litigation and lobbying in ways that support each other. Without attempting to resolve the first dilemma, it argues that lobbyists must not entertain exemptions that apply only to claims brought by LGBT plaintiffs — or more broadly, any protections that fall short of what might reasonably be achieved through litigation under existing antidiscrimination laws.
Keywords: LGBT, movement, red states, antidiscrimination, lived equality
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