Today, the Supreme Court of the United States legalized marriage equality nationwide and whether you want to marry or not, that is a huge fuggin’ deal.
We’ve already considered what the future of the LGBT rights movement will look like after marriage (basically, it’ll have to help get transgender rights up to speed). But let’s take a quick second to consider a few possible unintended consequences of the same-sex marriage ruling:
1) LGBT folks are gonna start being pressured to tie the knot, or as J. Bryan Lowder from Slate said, “The freedom to marry may quickly become the coercion to marry.” Increasingly, gay couples will be expected to conform and make their relationships “respectable” by tying the knot.
2) That being said, the wedding industry is about to go bonkers. In addition to all sorts of same-sex cake toppers, hers-and-hers wedding rings, and matching male-newlywed bathrobe sets, we’ll likely see state tourism boards start to tout their states as gay honeymoon destinations. We’ll also see a bunch of shystie lawyers start to tout their expertise in gay divorce.
3) Equality organizations within the 32 states where people can still be fired for being LGBT will have to work quickly to ensure that newly married same-sex couples can still keep their jobs. But even pro-LGBT companies may still drop their domestic partner benefits now that LGBT employees can now legally wed. The Human Rights campaign has urged employers NOT to drop such benefits.
4) Anti-gay organizations like the so-called National Organization for Marriage will most likely linger around the U.S. for a bit in a sad bid for relevance, asking Republican presidential candidates to pledge to overturn the Supreme Court decision (a near impossibility) and hating on transgender people in discriminatory “bathroom bills.” But their big game will now be international as they try to spread anti-LGBT policies in Africa, Asia and elsewhere.
5) We can also expect to see a conservative states rushing to pass Indiana-style “religious rights” legislation that will allow religious business owners and church charities (like Catholic adoption agencies) fighting for their right to deny services to gay couples on religious grounds. Groups like Freedom For All Americans will become all the more necessary to fight such discriminatory actions.