The Advocate reported that the White House would give LGBT Syrian refugees priority for entry given the persecution they face under ISIS. The Advocate writes, according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, “the administration would instead prioritize letting in those refugees ‘deemed to be the most vulnerable.’ LGBT people would be among those meeting that definition.” The article goes on to say that the State Department has said that, “priority would be placed on those facing extreme persecution,” and that the definition of those being persecuted included LGBT refugees. Another interesting dimension the article described was a change recently in the State Department definition of the word, ‘spouse’, which now includes LGBT. So LGBT spouses of Syrian refugees are now seen differently than they might have been, thanks to marriage equality.
Ireland just passed a bill removing religious exemption from their LGBT equality law. The Republic of Ireland earlier this year approved same sex marriage in a referendum, which went into effect this month. They are now removing the religious exemption, a topic that has been controversial in the United States, from their equality laws.
What does it mean to be LGBTQ at this moment in history? In a year where the United States has seen significant movement towards LGBTQ equality with the definition of marriage expanded to include LGBTQ, we have also seen some horrific events.