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The month of June marks LGBT Pride month and there's much to celebrate. This week, in a move that helps many same-sex couples, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, which barred married same-sex couples from receiving hundreds of rights available to married heterosexual couples under federal law.

While the U.S. Supreme Court decision doesn’t grant same-sex couples the right to marry across the nation, it does mean that those who are legally married in states that do grant that right can now receive critical federal protections like Social Security, veterans’ benefits, health insurance, retirement savings, and sponsor their partners for immigration, which is a major victory.

But there is still more work to do to make sure all families have equal rights and access to economic opportunity. Study after study shows that discrimination based on sexuality and gender threatens families' economic security.  For example, almost one in five LGBTQ households – 19.4% -- report having a child under the age of 18 in the home.  Due to discriminatory practices such as the inability to marry and tap into healthcare and other safety net programs, children raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty as kids being raised by married heterosexual parents. Transgender adults, many of whom are parents, are four times more likely to live in poverty. Further, right now in over half of the United States, employees can be fired from their jobs for being gay and the same is true in 33 states for transgender people.

Same-sex mom couples experience a double whammy of both sexuality-based and gender-based wage discrimination.  You can see the impact of this discrimination in a study reported by the New York Times that found that families with two moms were the least likely to have a stay-at-home parent, heterosexual couples were the middle most likely to have a stay-at-home parent, and families with two dads were the most like to have a stay-at-home parent.  Since motherhood is now a greater predictor of wage discrimination than gender, same-sex mom couples often experience the biggest economic hits, making it highly important to address the intersectional impacts of this type of discrimination.

Further, the inability to marry, or to adopt a same-sex partner’s child, or to sponsor a same-sex immigrant partner remain barriers to family economic security for too many moms and children in our country today.
MomsRising commends the U.S Supreme Court for their rulings this week; these are important steps in the right direction towards equality--and toward addressing the current barriers to economic security that same-sex families face. However, there is still tremendous work to do before marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states. We applaud advocates across the country who are working tirelessly to make this a reality. Together we can break down barriers for all our families to achieve their full potential.

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