Panel examines gay rights movement after marriage equality decision

Many more vital issues still need to be addressed, panelists say

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During the panel, Rheinheimer brought up several issues specific to college students, such as housing and health records for transgender students.

Lauren Hornsby | Cavalier Daily

The Seriatim Journal and Queer Student Union co-hosted a panel Tuesday discussing the Gay Rights Movement after the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry.

Panelists included University Law Prof. Douglas Laycock, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Prof. Doug Meyer and LGBTQ Student Services Coordinator Scott Rheinheimer.

The Seriatim Journal hosts events which allow members of the University community to come together and discuss pertinent socio-political issues, said fourth-year College student Ian Robertson, co-editor-in-chief of the Seriatim Journal.

“After this summer, Obergefell v. Hodges was at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds throughout the University,” Robertson said. “We wanted to provide a forum where people from the legal side and the social and political sides could come together and provide different perspectives.”

The different panelists each brought a distinct viewpoint which allowed the discussion to go beyond just the political significance of the case, Robertson said.

“The interdisciplinary nature of these sorts of forums allows people to talk about issues in a unique way,” Robertson said. “The intersection of the different perspectives coming together provides something that you can’t necessarily get in a classroom.”

While Obergefell v. Hodges legally guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry, it also served as a political symbol for the gay rights movement, Laycock said.

“Same-sex couples will get married and those who are opposed will see that nothing bad happens,” Laycock said. “I do think the resistance will fade away because of the larger forces that were shifting public opinion before the decision.”

Panelists said they consider the Obergefell case a victory for the gay rights movement, but said there is much more to be done.

“The important issues to put on the agenda are things like homelessness, police violence, trans people’s access to medical care,” Meyer said. “These are life or death issues.”

During the panel, Rheinheimer brought up several issues specific to college students, such as housing and health records for transgender students.

“We have to push back against the narrative that we have gay marriage so everything is equal now,” Meyer said. “[Discussions like these] have the potential to spark the imagination and bring in critical discussions about things that you aren’t hearing in the media.”

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