We won't- until we all can.
Most of NMB’s branches are based in universities. As students, we often think of marriage equality as an issue affecting aspects of our lives unrelated to education. But it is important to note that indeed, marriage equality affects something as real and pivotal to higher education access as the financial aid system. LGBT people are already at a disadvantage financially for education, being three times as likely to have an income below $10,000, facing employment discrimination without legal protection in over 30 states, and comprising about a third of the homeless youth population. Due to federal and state laws, however, reports the Center for American Progress, the fact that same-sex couples are often rendered invisible in financial aid applications leads to misallocation of funds.
From the report’s summary:
The application may discriminate against children with same-sex parents by discounting one or both parents as a part of that child’s application. Gay applicants themselves may not be able to include their spouses, children, or other dependents as part of their application. And homeless applicants who identify as gay or transgender also face unique obstacles in obtaining financial aid.
Over $134 billion of federal financial aid is distributed annually. Misallocation of funds leads to inefficiencies in our system and a misuse of tax funds. The Center for American Progress recommends, and NMB agrees, that legislators target discriminatory policies at the federal and state levels that target LGBT applicants and applicants within same-sex couple families. So here’s an unconventional reason to support marriage equality: that it affects access to higher education for LGBT people and their families.