Did you notice the amazing week we’ve had for LGBT equality? At Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, we counted three milestones worth celebrating. Did you miss any in the whirlwind of social media?
Many of us became St. Louis Rams fans when Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player drafted to the NFL. Sam was nearly the last man picked, so history-watchers were on pins and needles for a couple days. But history was made and the positive outpouring on social media was bigger than the few negative comments some NFL players tweeted when Sam kissed his boyfriend on live television.Sam’s inspiring story seemed to overshadow more history a day earlier. Last Friday, a circuit court judge in Arkansas ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Dozens of gay and lesbian couples have wed in Arkansas since then. Now the state is trying to stop the weddings until a higher court can weigh in.If the Arkansas story was quickly forgotten by the rest of the country in the weekend flood of Michael Sam social media, the reason could be that Arkansas is just one of many Bible Belt states where judges have recently ruled against same-sex marriage bans. There’s Oklahoma, Virginia, Utah, Texas and Michigan. Marriage is up in the air in those states as the U.S. Supreme Court will certainly be asked to sort it out, but the quick movement shows we are headed to inevitable LGBT equality.
That’s why the third big LGBT news of the week was the television ad for Toyota featuring a married lesbian couple. Gay and lesbian couples have been seen in TV ads before, going back to an Ikea ad in the 1990s that generated lots of backlash. Earlier this year Coca Cola showed a gay couple with children in a TV ad among many diverse subjects. But in the Toyota ad, the two women were casually introduced as spouses and presented just like a million other straight married couples. The ad was remarkable for not remarking on the fact it starred two married women.Meanwhile, in Europe, 180,000,000 people from Madrid to Moscow were agog as Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest.Out & Equal has spent years building relationships with companies, which is why we’re so proud when those companies take a lead to ensure that LGBT people are presented and treated as equal to all employees and customers. Out & Equal is especially proud the NFL has joined the ranks of workplaces where anyone with talent can be star regardless of who they love. From the office to the football field, we are a nation that is truly becoming Out and Equal.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates