Get Email Updates

Take Action

Featured Voice

Passing RFRA will harm Georgia’s reputation and open the doors to discrimination Jonelle Shields McKenzie ~ Sandy Springs, GA
On the Second Anniversary of Marriage Equality in Georgia, LGBT Couples Look Ahead to Civil Rights Protections June 26, 2017

Two years ago, LGBT people in Georgia and across the country celebrated one of the most consequential civil rights and moral victories for our community: Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision that brought marriage equality to every state in our nation.

Today, we’re taking a moment to celebrate this landmark victory by sharing the stories of LGBT married couples. And we’re looking ahead, to the work that still needs to be done—most importantly, securing civil rights protections for LGBT people and their families.

***

Marisa & Andrea

Marisa and Andrea DeRossett are thankful that, for the last two years, their marriage has been recognized in their home state of Georgia. And this legal recognition isn’t just important to them—it’s most important for their three children.

But, they say, the fight for equal rights didn’t end for them or other LGBT people on June 26th, 2015. Until state or federal law is updated to recognize their civil rights, LGBT people, including married couples, can still face discrimination in employment, housing and public places.

“Until there is comprehensive civil rights legislation in Georgia that protects us and our family from blatant and insidious discrimination, we must continue to fight for our rights as a couple, as a family and as members of the LGBTQ community.” —Marisa DeRossett

“Until there is comprehensive civil rights legislation in Georgia that protects us and our family from blatant and insidious discrimination,” Marisa says, “We must continue to fight for our rights as a couple, as a family and as members of the LGBTQ community.”

***

Nancy & Stephanie

Nancy and Stephanie have experienced this kind of discrimination firsthand. After their marriage, Nancy and Stephanie wanted to update their wills to ensure the other would be protected from hardship if anything unexpected happened.

They were matched with a lawyer through Nancy’s employer, which she figured would be best since her employer is very supportive of its LGBT employees. So she was shocked when she called the lawyer, and he refused to work with her.

“He responded that he could not work with me as it was against his religious principles,” she says. “I was stunned. This is Atlanta in 2017!”

“He responded that he could not work with me as it was against his religious principles. I was stunned … this is Atlanta in 2017! So while we celebrate the SCOTUS marriage anniversary and all that means, I’m aware that additional protections still need to be in place for families like mine.” —Nancy Kropf

It was a rude awakening for Nancy that even though her and Stephanie have the legal protections of a married couple, they don’t yet have the full protection from discrimination that other Georgia residents enjoy.

“So while we celebrate the SCOTUS marriage anniversary and all that means,” Nancy says, “I’m aware that additional protections still need to be in place for families like mine.”

***

Beth & Krista

The Obergefell ruling had an immediate effect on Beth and Krista Wurz. Though the two had been married since October 12, 2010—the ceremony took place in New Hampshire, where marriage equality had been implemented that January—the couple still lacked protections since Georgia did not recognize same-sex marriages.

That changed in 2015. After Obergefell, Krista and Beth could access most of the same rights and privileges of other married couples in Georgia. The immediate impact was on their health insurance: Krista and the couple’s children became eligible to access it through Beth’s employer, and Beth says her employer moved swiftly to comply.

However, the law is still murky in some areas, most notably regarding explicit civil rights protections for LGBT Georgians—which don’t exist—and family law. Krista and Beth have technically needed to adopt their children individually as “single” parents, even though they are married. That’s cost them $12,000, a financial hardship that’s greater than what opposite-sex married couples face.

“LGBT parents who have biological children can list both parents’ names on the newborn’s birth certificate, but attorneys are still advising LGBT parents to complete second-parent adoptions. This is a step that heterosexual married couples are not required to take.” —Beth Wurz

“LGBT parents who have biological children can list both parents’ names on the newborn’s birth certificate, but attorneys are still advising LGBT parents to complete second-parent adoptions,” Beth says. “This is a step that heterosexual married couples are not required to take.”

And Beth says the lack of legal clarity has left attorneys hesitant to file their second-parent adoptions in court.

“It’s two years later, and our family is still split down the middle,” she says. “We desperately need comprehensive LGBT civil rights protections in Georgia.”

Twitter Icon@GeorgiaUnites

Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR). It's a day to honor Georgians we have lost to anti-#transgender violence—but also renew our commitment to creating a safer world for all transgender people. pic.twitter.com/x2e6c0ezvT

About 5 hours ago

Follow Us On Twitter