The Supreme Court ruling in 303 CREATIVE LLC ET AL. v. ELENIS ET AL. is a strong signal the LGBTQ community is not safe from serious discrimination. It is a warning we must watch our backs, and reminds us we must fight back.
While this case is a limited decision, it will open the door for more discrimination and litigation. There are potential ways around it, as we are reminded by Andrew Tang in a recent New York Times essay. He recounts how Kentucky handled the issue of ensuring same-sex couples could get a marriage license. But the takeaway for the community must be to accept the major way to fight back is with our vote. The temperament of the majority of this right-wing Supreme Court is such that it is not only the LGBTQ community that is at risk. It is the African-American community, women, and all minorities.
In her dissent Justice Sotomayor wrote, “…it reminds LGBT people of a painful feeling that they know all too well: There are some public places where they can be themselves, and some where they cannot. Ask any LGBT person, and you will learn just how often they are forced to navigate life in this way. They must ask themselves: If I reveal my identity to this co-worker, or to this shopkeeper, will they treat me the same way? If I hold the hand of my partner in this setting, will someone stare at me, harass me, or even hurt me? It is an awful way to live. Freedom from this way of life is the very object of a law that declares: All members of the public are entitled to inhabit public spaces on equal terms.” What it must also remind us is African Americans, and women, have been forced to live every day with constant thoughts as to how they will be treated in different situations and they can’t ever hide who they are, like members of the LGBTQ+ community can. It reminds us we must fight everyday so we never have to hide who we are, or who we are born to be.
The responsibility for the heightened culture wars we face must be placed squarely where it belongs, at the feet of the Republican Party, now a Trump cult. It’s a party that supported children of immigrants being placed in cages, separated from their parents. It supports groups like Moms for Liberty, now designated an ‘extremist’ group by the SPLC, with one of their chapters quoting Nazis in their newsletter. This group now courted by Republican candidates for president; Trump, Haley, DeSantis, and others, already bending a knee before them.
It is clear at all levels of government, the Republican Party, the MAGA Party, is introducing and passing legislation to move our country backwards in every area of civil and human rights. They claim responsibility for hundreds of legislative initiatives in Congress, and state legislatures, taking away personal rights. Their candidates proudly claim credit for appointing the judges who ended Affirmative action, reversed Roe v. Wade, and are allowing businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. They tell all who listen, this is only the beginning, “Elect us and there is more to come.” They commit to doing more to erode any progress, made over decades, toward a more equal and just society.
For all the decent people in our country it is past time to band together and say ‘no more’; we will not allow you, the Republican Party, to destroy all that is good in our nation. We will not vote for the party whose platform is supported by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
To begin moving our country forward, instead of continuing to move it backwards; to eliminate structural racism, fight discrimination against women, the LGBTQ community, and minorities, at all levels of government, we must all vote against every Republican. We will say to them: “We will never support you as long as you are a member of the MAGA Party.” We must commit to not voting for any candidate who runs with the Republican label. We will ask every family member, friend, and neighbor, to join us. We will get them all to VOTE! We will continue to speak out every day on the atrocities foisted on us by this Republican Party. We move ahead understanding, only massive numbers heading to the polls, will allow us to win. We understand, in our democracy, the only way to ensure our voices are heard, that decent people will prevail, is with our VOTE! We will use it and win; for ourselves and the generations who follow.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.