GOOD NEWS NUGGET: 60 Percent of Americans Will Soon Live in States With Marriage Equality

U.s. gay marriage map

Updated U.S. marriage equality map from Freedom to Marry.

Yesterday was a monumental day in the annals of LGBT history. The Supreme Court declined to hear cases from five states that had appealed marriage equality rulings in their state, which cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Utah, Indiana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and our very first Southern state to allow gay marriage, Virginia.

Gay Star News reports that the ruling also clears the way for marriage in six other states, which would bring the total number of marriage equality states to—are you ready for this—30! That’s more than half!

Lets do some math (or have GSN do it for us): “The total population of all 30 states, based on 2013 estimates from the Census Bureau, is about 190 million. This means just over 60 percent of the U.S. population now lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, or will soon be legal.”

How awesome is that?!

In a more disturbing twist, Washington Post juxtaposes those amazing statistics with the very real and unfortunate fact that, even though 60 percent of us live in a marriage equality state, we can still be fired or discriminated against just for being LGBT. In fact, “gay people can now get legally married in more states than where they are legally protected from job discrimination.” More:

So why have advances in marriage equality leaped ahead of employment discrimination protections for gay people?  The answer lies in the differences between marriage law and employment law, and the sharply different stances that the two parties have taken on gay rights.

Gay people can’t look to the courts for help on employment discrimination.  The Constitution limits the extent to which the government can discriminate against different groups — including in its administration of marriage.  But protection from discrimination by private employers can only happen through enacted laws.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent federal laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, age, and disability. But no law at the national level forbids job bias on the basis of sexual orientation.

Read more of the Washington Post piece here. And when you get finished, contact your legislator to urge him to support HB and SB 300, two pieces of legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in Pennsylvania. If we can’t get it passed on a national level, we can at least get it done here.