SALT LAKE CITY – As the nation awaits a decision from the US Supreme Court on a Mississippi law calling for a ban on abortion at 15 weeks gestation, LGBTQ advocates are pushing to codify the protections of same-sex marriages in states across the country.
Since the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the court might overturn abortion rights, concerns have grown over whether judges could next reverse other decisions based on the “right to privacy” the court said in the decision Roe v. Wade outlined legalization of abortion nationwide nearly 50 years ago.
The leaked opinion from Judge Samuel Alito, a member of the court’s conservative 6-3 majority, specifically states that the decision affects abortion and no other rights.
But legal experts have speculated This similar logic could be used to reverse other decisions, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case in which the court found the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
“We need states in this country that say, ‘See you. you exist you deserve respect And you deserve protection because your relationship is no different than any other,” said Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark case, who is now a Democratic candidate trying to become an Ohio state legislature.
Before the Supreme Court lifted bans and legalized same-sex marriage, 31 states had enacted laws barring same-sex couples from marrying. The laws have not come into effect since courts ruled them unconstitutional, but they remain on the books in most of these states.
For years they were considered non-existent and received little attention, but the changing composition of the Supreme Court has led to several states removing them from their statutes and constitutions. Virginia and Nevada In 2020, they lifted their defunct bans, and New Jersey codified marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2021.
“We should all be concerned about our other fundamental rights that have been obtained through courts in the last decade or so,” Utah State Senator Derek Kitchen, a Democrat and the state’s only LGBTQ legislator, said on the steps of the Senate Statehouse on Tuesday.
Republican Rep. Don Guardian, Rep. from Kitchen and New Jersey, wants more states to scrap bans on same-sex marriages from their laws and codify rights for LGBTQ couples in preparation for a worst-case scenario in which the Supreme Court rules to lift the 2015 ban-sex marriage decision.
“I would be very concerned about any state that doesn’t now take up the same type of legislation in court (on abortion) so that it can protect its LGBTQ+ residents who have married,” the gay Guardian said.
Though New Jersey’s law passed with bipartisan support, similar moves to codify same-sex marriage rights could lead to uphill battles in Republican-led lawmakers, who have begun to revisit LGBTQ issues with newfound zeal.
Some have moved to restrict LGBTQ issues from school curricula and regulate health care for transgender youth. At least a dozen, including Utah, have enacted laws restricting transgender youth from participating in sports.
Kitchen likened the state bans to “trigger laws” that many Republican-led states have enacted to prepare for a scenario in which Roe v. Wade is lifted and states can resume limiting abortions.
But he expressed optimism that same-sex marriage in Utah has been embraced enough that codification of protections for LGBTQ couples will garner widespread support.
“Utah is a family-friendly state. We support families that we know the importance of providing stable units for children to grow up in,” he said.
Kitchen added, “We have already decided as a community that marriage equality is a value we hold dear. So yeah, that’s something that has a chance of making it in Utah.
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/07/same-sex-marriage-advocates-push-for-post-roe-protections/ Proponents of same-sex marriage are pushing for post-roe protections