Five years ago this month, the Supreme Court brought marriage equality to the United States in Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision forever changed what it means to be an LGBTQ+ American and the freedoms their families can enjoy.
To look more closely at its impact, Family Equality — a nonprofit supporting LGBTQ+ families — sat down with two rainbow households to discuss how the lives of couples and their children have changed since the historic ruling.
In the video series, Out in Texas, two same-sex couples — Greg and Phillip from Houston, and Stacey and Cheralyn from Dallas — shared with one another the stories of how they met, married, and raised children in the face of societal and legal barriers.
Both couples first married in Canada before Obergefell, and they were amazed to see their nuptials cheered there. “We would never have experienced that in our home state, our home country," Stacey said.
As viewers hear, just existing as an out LGBTQ+ family in the suburbs of a U.S. red state has its perils even today. "If I choose to come out as a safe-sex family, my life sometimes is at risk. I’m willing to do that. I have to. What’s the alternative?" Stacey added.
The struggles each couple experienced were heartbreaking. Stacey and Cheralyn were turned away at an adoption agency for being a same-sex couple. Meanwhile, Greg and Phillip struggled with adopting a blood relative who was forced into foster care in Alabama — even after marriage equality became the law of the land. “The judge wouldn’t even talk to us," they revealed.
However, Out in Texas is ultimately hopeful in showing the resiliency of these families in the face of hardship. Additionally, the couples and children found community with one another and have taken up advocacy for a better future.
Ultimately, marriage equality may not have solved all of the disparities these families face, but the goal of "full equality" is one they see as realizable in their lifetimes.
Watch the series below. And pledge to support LGBTQ+ families at FamilyEquality.org.