You Say Marriage, I Say Jobs

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Jessica Arevalo – Huffington Post – 04 June 2012 (originally published 30 May)

The civil rights movement in the United States today has an LGBTQ agenda, and it is gaining momentum. On May 9, President Obama declared his support of same-sex marriage and following suit, the NAACP passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right. But with all of this attention on marriage equality, we may be ignoring an even more important right: the right to work.

As a longtime organizer and advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer rights, it concerns me that the main issue in today’s news is marriage equality. Our community faces daily civil rights violations not limited to school bullying, hate crimes, homelessness, deportation, unemployment, and employment discrimination. With the consequences of these issues so dire, how did the focus of our civil rights struggle become marriage?

There are many benefits to equal access to marriage. It legitimizes queer love as just as valuable as straight love. It allows same-sex couples to have equal rights as married couples from filing joint taxes to being able visit each other in the hospital. But with marriage usually comes weddings, and with the average price of weddings in 2012 hovering around $26,000, who can afford to get married? The employed . . .

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