Vote them out before they burn us down

Even when you know something terrible is coming, you’re never quite prepared for the moment it happens. And here we are: The United States Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. Pregnant people no longer have the right to an abortion. It’s up to individual states now.

Remember when marriage equality was like that? When you could be legally married in, say, California and then travel back to your home state of, say, Michigan and no longer be legally married (like my wife and me)? That was awful. And that’s what people are going to have to grapple with during one of the most challenging times of their lives: pregnancy.

For many, it will be a life or death situation. And they will die. Just like the good old days.

Oh, and that state by state marriage recognition thing? The conservative majority on the Supreme Court wants to go back to that, too. They want to go after the decisions that legalized birth control, decriminalized gay sex and brought us marriage equality.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion, that we should reconsider Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell (birth control, gay sex, and marriage equality) in order to “correct the error” established by those cases. (Note: As many legal experts have pointed out, that same interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause was behind decisions about interracial marriage and desegregating public schools, though Thomas failed to mention those cases.)

Remember that both Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, were credibly accused of either sexual harassment or sexual assault during their confirmation hearings. The women doing the accusing — Anita Hill, who said Thomas sexually harassed her, and Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party in high school — were excoriated by the media and both of these men were rewarded with lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. And they’ve used that power to take away the right of a pregnant person to control their own bodies and futures.

And as if that all isn’t bad enough, Kavanaugh was nominated by Donald Trump, a man repeatedly accused of rape who still managed to become the most powerful man in the world. And that man appointed two other conservative justices.

And here we fucking are.

When I got the news about Roe v. Wade being overturned, I was sitting on the balcony of a rented apartment in Alicante, Spain, looking out over the Mediterranean Sea. That night my wife and I took our son to Festa de Sant Joan, a festival where beautiful things are literally set on fire, celebrating the tradition of burning “useless objects” as the summer solstice arrives. As the crowd cheered the destruction, I couldn’t help but think of how Christian extremists are burning down the United States, pushing us closer and closer toward fascism.

And the Republican Party loves it. They don’t give a fuck about women or democracy or autonomy over one’s own body. They care about power. And fascism is an all-you-can-eat buffet of power free from the worry over pesky things like human and civil rights.

Overturning Roe has been the prize ever since it was decided. But it won’t be the end. Christian extremists are just getting started and feel more powerful than ever.

Both Republicans and Democrats feel like the Roe decision means good news for them in the midterms, depending on what pundit you’re listening to. But the fact is, the majority of Americans support abortion rights. Not to mention birth control, marriage equality and not arresting consenting adults for having sex.

It’s easy to be discouraged, but please vote. Vote out every one of these Republican fascist creeps at every level of government. If Republicans are soundly defeated across the board, I think that is something that will work out for everybody.

D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.


Discrimination is lying in wait

For anyone who might not have noticed, for the last 40 years the criminal statute called “21.06,” which criminalizes private intimate relations between persons of the same gender, male couples or female couples, has been on the books in Texas. Since, in effect, it conferred “criminality” upon most members of the LGBT community, it was used to justify any and all forms of discrimination against people who engage in such private, consensual, “criminal” relations — up until 2003, that is, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas overturned the Texas sodomy law and all such laws in the U.S.

A recent article by Annie Gowen of the Washington Post explained how the Republicans in controlling Texas government right now are at the center of the effort to take personal freedom and bodily autonomy, from enacting one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country to efforts to overturn Lawrence and start enforcing the sodomy law again. And we could see all of this coming as the “next shoe to drop,” especially after reading Justice Clarence Thomas; concurring opinion in the recent — cruel — Dobbs decision overturning Roe v Wade. Thomas called for the Supreme Court to next “reconsider“ its 2003 decision in Lawrence, among other rulings.

Although the Lawrence decision made all state laws like 21.06 unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable, the state legislatures of Texas and many other states never actually removed those law from their penal code criminal code, leaving them sitting there on the books, silently waiting for the day when an extreme right wing Supreme Court might reverse Lawrence, as it just reversed Roe, thereby automatically reactivating criminal statutes like 21.06 and throwing wide the doors, once again, for pervasive discrimination against members of the LGBT community.

Think 1975: No teaching in public schools, no employment by police or fire departments, no adoption or fostering of kids, no service in the Texas national guard, etc.

Our Texas Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, has just announced that he is ready, willing and able to make that happen on behalf of the great state of Texas by challenging Lawrence before this new Supreme Court.

So, yes, it’s happening. They’ve waited almost 20 years for this opportunity.

But Paxton is up for re-election in November, as are the governor and lieutenant governor, Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick. The only question now is, will we, and our allies, rise up again?