APLA Health CEO Craig E. Thompson issued the following statement after President Biden signed the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act. The bill ensures federal recognition of marriages regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin and require all states to recognize valid marriages conducted in places where they are legal:
“APLA Health celebrates this historic legislation to protect the rights of same-sex couples should the now conservative-leaning Supreme Court overturn nationwide marriage equality for LGBTQ+ people. Few could have imagined even just a few years ago that bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress would come together to ensure that all Americans have the right to marry the person they love.
Still, the Respect for Marriage Act is far from perfect and numerous concessions were made to secure support from Republicans in Congress. The bill falls short of codifying the right of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states – as is now required under the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision – and includes a plethora of protections for religious institutions to continue discriminating against LGBTQ+ people.
The bill also comes against the backdrop of increasing violence against LGBTQ+ people and dangerous political attacks from anti-LGBTQ+ elected officials. Just last month, five people were violently murdered at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. Drag shows have become frequent targets of the Proud Boys and other extremist groups. A record number anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced and passed in state legislatures across the country.
So while we applaud the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act, our work is far from done. We must redouble our efforts to counter bigots and right-wing politicians that incite hatred and violence against LGBTQ+ people. We must fight even harder to protect the rights of transgender Americans who face a growing threat of violence and extremism. And Congress must pass the Equality Act, which would grant federal civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ people.”
APLA Health restores dignity and trust within underserved communities by providing world-class LGBTQ+ empowering healthcare, support services, and HIV specialty care. Since 1983, APLA Health has remained steadfast in its commitment to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our lifetime. The agency is a multi-site operation includes eight Federally Qualified health Center (FQHC) locations, serving more than 18,000 people annually in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. We provide 20 different services including: medical, dental, behavioral health and HIV specialty care; PrEP counseling and management; health education and HIV prevention; and STD screening and treatment. For people living with HIV, we offer housing support; benefits counseling; home healthcare; and the Vance North Necessities of Life Program food pantries; among several other critically needed services. Additionally, we are leaders in advocating for policy and legislation that positively impact the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities and conduct community-based research on issues affecting the communities we serve. For more information on APLA Health visit https://aplahealth.org.