By D’Anne Witkowski
Well, gay sex was decriminalized in India, so that’s great news. For those of you saying, “Well it’s about time, India!” I’d like to remind you that the U.S. didn’t decriminalize gay sex until 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas, holla!). We’re also still arguing about whether women can be in charge of their own bodies and if black people’s lives actually matter. So, don’t give the U.S. too much credit here. Especially not while we’re staring down the possibility of Brett Kavanaugh becoming a Supreme Court Justice.
That we allowed Donald Trump, a man who should never in a million years have been trusted at the helm of this country, the chance to reshape not only our Supreme Court but the entire federal court system is not a good look, America. Yet here we are. And yes, I’m yelling.
As the Human Rights Campaign puts it, “Brett Kavanaugh poses a direct threat to LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights, affordable health care, immigrants’ rights, workers’ rights and so much more.”
This was made clear when Kavanaugh was asked by president (whoops, I mean Senator, but president sure sounds good) Kamala Harris if the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized marriage equality, was decided correctly. Kavanaugh refused to give a straight (no pun intended) answer.
“I’m asking you a very specific question. Either you’re willing to answer it or you’re not,” Harris said.
He was not willing.
“Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”
And yet it’s pretty likely that he will. Trump’s Supreme Court list was made by the extremist anti-LGBTQ group the Federalist Society, after all. We’ve seen the kinds of lawyers Trump surrounds himself with. It’s clear he’s not picking these guys himself. A willingness, even an eagerness, to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, maybe even Lawrence, is absolutely required. Oh, and Roe v. Wade, too. It’s been the goal of the extremist right, from the moment the case was decided, to overturn it. To criminalize abortion all over again. To have women who are desperate to terminate pregnancies do it by any means necessary. I mean for Chrisssake, we’ve all seen “Dirty Dancing”!
Put simply, Trump is their best shot. That’s why he can screw all of the porn actresses he wants. That is why he can cheat on all of his wives. That is why he can have so many marriages and divorces. That is why he can brag about grabbing women by the pussy. That is why he can shrug off multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. That is why this utterly immoral piece of garbage we call president has the complete and unwavering support of the so-called “Moral Majority” (spoiler alert: they are neither moral nor the majority).
For straight folks or younger LGBTQ folks, marriage equality (which has translated into broader equality for LGBTQ people overall) is “settled law.” Meaning the fight is over with and done, and the law is permanent, forever and ever amen.
But that’s not how laws work. Which can be both good and bad. But in this case, it’s bad. I’m 40 years old. I didn’t think I would see marriage equality in my lifetime. But when the Supreme Court came through, man did they come through.
“There are already cases across the country where our opponents are working to undermine the Obergefell decision and the recognition of that decision,” Griffin told Variety. “There are also cases rising to the court that relate to existing federal law and the question of if current federal law protects people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. These are all things that are headed to this court, and sooner rather than later. There is significant reason to believe … that he is on the wrong side of all of these issues.”
Call your senators. Call senators who are supposedly undecided, too. But most importantly, vote in November. Vote for Democrats, however imperfect, because they’re literally our only defense.
I’m not willing to go back to when my wife and son were legally just random people I shared a home with. If you’re privileged enough to not worry about which party is in charge, at least have the decency to vote to protect families that hang in the balance.
—D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.