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Despite Supreme Court decision, still much work to be done for gay rights

A pioneering gay activist is suggesting the Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriages across the country may be the easiest part of the struggle for gay civil rights.

Jonathan Katz, director of the visual studies doctoral program at the University at Buffalo and an art historian, says issues remain of job discrimination and housing discrimination.

Katz says, though, a major problem area is kids struggling to be comfortable with being gay in the face of personal attitudes.

"It marks them as distinct, as weird," says Katz. "They're still killing themselves. They're still isolated. They're still in psychic pain. There are exceptions, of course, in the major metropolitan areas and in certain neighborhoods. But the vast majority of queer kids in this country are still struggling."

Katz says there needs to be more education in the society at large of gay people and history. He says there are still major problems in Red states which have often fought gay marriage.

"Where there is actual, in some instances, real physical danger in coming out, where people are still shunned, where churches control and constrict social life. We have been an urban movement because that's where the bulk of the people in the United States live and that's where the bulk of the queer community lives," he added.

Despite the challenges, Katz says it is remarkable how much public and legal attitudes have changed so quickly.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.