LGBTQ rights

LGBTQ+ Community Worries the Overturning of Roe. v Wade Could Go Beyond Reproductive Rights

NBC Universal, Inc.

The leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that spells out a possible overturning of Roe v. Wade, is now raising concerns well beyond reproductive rights advocates.

Many members of the LGBTQ+ community worry that such precedent could also threaten marriage equality across the country.

"What this draft opinion tells us is that rights that we regard as fundamental -reproductive freedom, marriage and so many other rights - this court is not regarding them as fundamental," said San Francisco resident Stuart Gafney.

Stuart Gafney and John Lewis were among the first same sex couples to be married in California when it was legalized by a state Supreme Court decision in 2008.

Both vividly remember visiting family in Missouri - where their marriage was not yet recognized - and being filled with fear of what that meant.

"We would lose our marriage, right there at that moment," Lewis said. "And we did have to bring our documents just in case that something terrible happened, that one of us had to go to the hospital."

Now, their concern is that the logic used to justify overturning Roe v. Wade in this new court opinion, could then be used to overturn other controversial Supreme Court decisions.

Among those decisions, Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 ruling guaranteeing a same sex marriage in one state would be recognized by all states.

Some conservative commentators have already started criticizing the court's ruling in that case.

Stanford law professor Benadette Meyler says even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, marriage equality could be protected by other constitutional provisions.

"There's both an equal protection basis for same sex marriage and what's called a substantive due process basis, or a right to privacy basis, or a right to liberty basis," Meyler explained.

The final decision from the Supreme Court challenging Roe v. Wade is expected within three months.

For those concerned about what that decision will mean, the focus now is not on the court but on the midterm election, and backing candidates with similar beliefs.

"Reproductive rights are our rights. Marriage rights are our rights. Voting rights are our rights. Immigration rights are our rights," Gafney said. "And on down the line, we're stronger together and together we are the majority of this country."

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