ATLANTA — LAST week Jennifer Mumaugh and A. J. McDaniel became the first same-sex couple to marry in Wyoming. They celebrated their union in Cheyenne, just miles away from where Matthew Shepard was left to die only 16 years ago. Wyoming thus became the 32nd state to allow gay marriage — explicitly or, by refusing to appeal court decisions, implicitly. Alaska. Arizona. Idaho. All have fallen this month.
These are great advances, and there is no question that those who believe in marriage equality must be vigilant in protecting them. But as engaged as the gay community and civil rights activists have been in the fight for marriage equality, we have lost ground on the fight that so intensely galvanized the gay community to begin with: H.I.V. and AIDS.
We need the same coalition that brought about marriage equality — from gay activists, human rights champions and social justice advocates to legal experts and courageous policy makers — to address the spiraling AIDS crisis again.
Why? Because 30 years after the AIDS epidemic began, rates of infection in the United States are still at unacceptable levels. One in eight gay men is H.I.V.-positive, and yet a majority of gay and bisexual men say they are “not concerned” about H.I.V., according to new research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.