DOMA: 'I Still Can't Marry My Girlfriend'

Some people of color see the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling as a battle half won because parity in employment and within the criminal-justice system doesn't exist, Jasmyne A. Cannick writes at The Advocate.

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California rally celebrating the Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling (AFP/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage is good for the LGBT community, but it doesn't lower the unemployment rate or provide health care for gay people of color, Jasmyne A. Cannick writes at The Advocate. Cannick uses bits and pieces of her own story to describe how the right to marry is not a quick fix for problems that plague lower-income black and Latino gay people.

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States of America cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the state of California. Unfortunately, for my girlfriend and I, we still can't get married.

Even though we're both natives of California and call the Golden State home, I am in Los Angeles while she lives 2,400 miles away in Whittier, Alaska after giving up all hope of ever finding a job here.

My girlfriend is of African-American and Latino descent and fluent in three languages -- English, Spanish, and American Sign Language -- but past criminal convictions make it practically impossible for her to find a job in California. For a time she would work sporadically after failing to check the box indicating that she'd been convicted of a felony crime, but in the end after companies completed their background check, she'd always be dismissed for failing to do so. I finally told her to just be truthful, but the job offers stopped altogether. No one was willing to give her a chance to prove that she had changed.

So when she received a call back from a seafood processing company in Whittier, Alaska eager to hire people for labor-intensive jobs that consist of 16 hour days at minimum wage during the state's busy salmon season, for a woman whose pride is directly connected to her ability to provide for her family, the decision to leave was a no-brainer.

Read Jasmyne A. Cannick's entire piece at The Advocate

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