For some – but not for gays – freedom in the US

It seemed like everyone was participating in the Gay Pride parade – drag queens and studs, bros and kids. The and the mayor were visibly present.

The rainbow flag does not fly on buildings in the state of Texas. On the contrary – when it comes to gay rights, the Lone Star State might as well be on the dark side of the moon. There and elsewhere in the US, anti-gay groups and their allies in state legislatures are working overtime to turn back the clock on rights that rightly take for granted.

The Supreme Court’s historic reversal of Roe v Wade, the decision, is breathtaking in its audacity and horrifying in its consequences. It is the first time in its 232-year history that the court has taken away a constitutional right it had previously granted. It probably won’t be the last time.

The decision is a license to hunt homophobes. Emboldened by the decision, this gang plans to strip the gay community of the basic constitutional rights it has secured after decades of fighting for the same rights available to other Americans.

The right to marry – even the right of men to have sex with other men – is at risk. It is simply unthinkable in this country.

This is not a Chicken-Little-the-sky-is-falling alert. According to his unanimous opinion Justice Clarence Thomas urged his colleagues to reconsider decisions that upheld same-sex marriage and banned the criminalization of same-sex intimacy, a provision that had been on the books in several states, including Texas. “We have an obligation to ‘right the wrong’ found in those precedents,” Thomas declared.

“Thomas’ dissent is a glaring red alert for the LGBTQ community and all Americans” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of an LGBTQ aid organization told a Washington Post reporter. “We will never go back to the dark days of being locked out of hospital rooms, death certificates omitted, spousal benefits denied, or any of the other humiliations of earlier years [the 2015 same-sex marriage decision].”

Bold words – but a solid majority on the Supreme Court, three of whose members were appointed could very well go in that direction.

The prospect of dire court decisions is not the only challenge gays face. Across the US, anti-LGBTQ politicians in red (Republican) states are on the offensive. Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” silences all classroom discussions related to sexual orientation and identity. Many states have banned transgender girls from participating in competitive sports. School districts have removed LGBTQ+ books from school libraries.

The anti-LGBTQ crusade is one front in the right-wing war being waged against women and minorities in the United States. In the current environment, Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations are hollow. That’s “freedom for some” these days.

The situation is of course completely different in . Here, women have the right to decide for themselves whether to have an abortion, individuals can marry whomever they want regardless of gender, and teachers decide for themselves how to teach children about sexuality.

In these times, I am especially grateful that I – a gay man, married to the founder of a Finnish startup – am a permanent resident of Finland.


David Kirp

David Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, is a writer for the Times.

David Kirp

David Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, is a writer for the .

Source: The Nordic Page

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