On June 26th, seventeen years of national legalized bigotry ended. The United Sates Supreme Court ruled the Defense Of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, unconstitutional. This is a monumental development on both a political and personal level. Politically, we haven’t had a President (in any living person’s memory) who legalized discrimination. On a personal level, the repeal of DOMA means that it is no longer legal for only some people to have the full rights and privileges afforded to all Americans. Nationally, that is. It is still very legal for states to discriminate against an entire group of people.
Currently only 13 states* allow equal marriage. A couple who have married in these states and remain in these states for their entire lives have their marriages recognized on both a federal and state level. For anyone living or moving to any of the other states their rights are still greatly reduced. It is pretty clear by now that the SCOTUS and administration are happy to have the states figure this all out on their own. While there is no doubt that momentum is building across the country, and the numbers of states abolishing discrimination will continue to grow; this is no time to rest on our laurels. We know that there are many regions in this country that are not going to embrace this civil right. We know that there are states that have a very conservative and/or religious political agenda. We also know that money talks.
Boycotting states with legalized discrimination will fast track this movement. We can do this individually at varying levels of personal sacrifice. We can choose not to vacation in these states (perhaps the easiest form of boycott), we can choose not to move to or live in these states (perhaps the more challenging form of boycott) and we can do many things in between. We can refuse to do business with companies that choose to have their headquarters in these states. We can boycott corporations who donate money to politicians in these states. Companies can do more than issue press releases about their support of equality. They too can boycott these states; refusing to open offices, retail outlets or hold events. Once cleansing themselves of these affiliations, they can launch campaigns in which they brand themselves as ethical partners (it’s like being “green” but with many more colors of the rainbow.)
We know from experience that money is as powerful an influencer as public sentiment. When we shine the spotlight on these states, and (fairly) equate their stance to that of Jim Crow, we will make a difference. It’s Pride Week and there’s much to celebrate. It’s okay to bask in this victory for a bit. But when social media users switch back to their profile pics, relegating the red marriage equality symbol to a pop-art fixture, it’s time to put our money where are mouths (or avatars) are. It is a wonderful time to be living in these 13 states, but what of our brothers and sisters and our own sense of pride? Yes, many of us identify ourselves (geographically) by our state, but the world does not. The world sees us as Americans and rightly so. We are only as free as the next guy or gal. If there is anywhere in this country in which people are not treated equally under the law, we are all tainted. Think of this country as a meringue; one drop of egg yolk and we all fold.
*California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington (and the District of Columbia)