Will Same Sex Marriage Survive?
At last same sex marriage was legal in all fifty states!
On June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court declared DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) unconstitutional, thus requiring the federal government to recognize same sex marriages and offer the same benefits it offers to heterosexual married couples. I was elated! On August 23, 2013 my husband, from Malaysia, and I were married in New York State. This meant that he could apply for a green card and eventually citizenship and we could return to the US. This adventure is qualified in my story, Why I Retired in Malaysia. In February we both moved to the United States and bought a home in Upstate New York. We felt reasonably safe living in New York as New York legalized same sex marriages in June of 2011. We had no intention of leaving New York, even though sames sex marriages were still banned in the South and many other states. But in June of 2015 the Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same sex marriages and required all states to legally recognize same sex marriages from other states. At last same sex marriage was legal in all fifty states! My husband and I breathed a sigh of relief and felt comfortable together in our new home. Then came the election of Donald Trump!
Trump is no friend to the LGBT community!
During the presidential campaign of 2016 Trump tweeted “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs”, as he held up the rainbow flag. He was elected with the almost complete support of the Conservative Religious Right, who have vowed to repeal same sex marriages and all vestiges of LGBTQ rights. But soon after he took office this statement became just another lie in Trump’s repertoire of deceitful behavior and statements. Almost immediately he tried to reintroduce the ban on transgender military personnel and he named one of the most racist and anti-gay US senators, Jeff Sessions, to become Attorney General. He has named a totally unqualified multi-millionaire supporter and donor to his campaign, Betsy Devos to be Secretary of Education, who then proceeded to eliminate any protections for LGBTQ students making them targets of bullying and discrimination. Donald Trump was and is no friend to the gay community!
Packing the Supreme Court.
With Trump’s ascent to the presidency I was naturally upset and also fearful for myself, my husband and my fellow citizens in the gay community, as well as all minorities in our country, but I still felt reasonably comfortable. Then came Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court. First came Neil Gorsuch, who believes that the Constitution does not protect the right of gay people to marry. He was confirmed by the Republican majority in Congress. However, the same majority on the Court which legalized same sex marriage was still in tact. Suddenly Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion on same sex marriage, announced his retirement. Without much delay Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative judge on the US Court of Appeals, to fill the seat vacated by Kennedy. Now we began to worry, especially since the Republicans are doing everything in their power to push through his nomination. For the first time in history over 90% of Kavanaugh’s records from the time he served as a White House lawyer under George W. Bush, have been withheld from the Senate Democrats, thus preventing a full vetting of the nominee. In the contentious and often raucous confirmation hearing Kavanaugh refused to disavow LGBTQ discrimination and refused to answer any questions on the Court’s decision on same sex marriage. He refused to say if the Supreme Court’s decision was correct or that it was settled law. Since he was recommended by the anti-gay rights Federalist Society it can be ascertained that he holds those same views regarding gay rights.
We all have to worry!
It seems almost certain, barring a last minute bombshell, that Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the GOP majority, even though there many be some evidence that he had committed perjury during his hearings. Now my husband and I are truly worried about losing our right to be a married couple. Our few Trump supporting friends say our fears are irrational, but they have never been in a position of losing their rights: their right to marry, their right to inherit, their right to pursuit of happiness. I, myself, have never known a situation where people have actually lost their rights, except for Nazi Germany, the establishment of slavery in the U.S., the taking of lands from Native Americans and the interment of the Japanese during World War II! What will the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh bring to our America? I feel that we have every right to be afraid, very afraid. Along with women, workers, immigrants, the handicapped, the poor, students, we all have something to fear and everything to lose. From gay rights to abortion rights Kavanaugh will have the power to bring us back to the not so glorious past, which white supremacists yearn for.
What will happen…..?
Many among us say that we can have some hope in the upcoming midterm elections if the Democrats take back the Senate and House of Representatives. But the damage will have been done with the balance of power on the Supreme Court shifting to the far right. Even if Democrats take over the Congress and impeach Trump, his successor, Mike Pence, will be worse. His religious extremist views make Trump look like martin Luther king Jr.! For me I wonder what will happen if the same sex marriage decision is reversed and once again it is deemed illegal. What will happen to all of the same sex couples who were once legally married? What will happen to those people who gained green cards and citizenship through same sex marriages to American citizens? What will happen to all of those inheritances that resulted from same sex marriages? Will same sex marriage survive?