Gay Rights
July 15, 2015
Will there be more gains after marriage ruling?

The U.S. Supreme Court has given gay rights advocates their biggest victory in history by extending marriage rights to same-sex couples nationwide. In a deeply divided 5-4 decision, the court on June 26 struck down laws in 14 states that banned marriages for gay or lesbian couples and barred recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. States moved to comply with the ruling even as debate over the issue continued. Gay rights advocates sought to capitalize on the ruling by renewing calls for federal or state laws to broadly prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. But social conservatives continued to press for religious freedom exemptions from gay rights measures. Meanwhile, transgender individuals gained new attention and respect after the former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner drew national attention as she transitioned to a new identity as Caitlyn Jenner.

Gay rights advocates celebrate in West Hollywood, Calif., on June 26 after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. (AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown)   Gay rights advocates celebrate in West Hollywood, Calif., on June 26 after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. (AFP/Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown)

Gay rights advocates gained a major victory with the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision granting same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide, and they turned immediately to renewed efforts to win anti-discrimination legislative protections.

The marriage ruling threatened to complicate the legislative fights, however, by accentuating calls by social and political conservatives to include religious freedom exemptions for individuals or organizations opposed to homosexuality.

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