Legal expert attempts to calm fears about marriage equality
In the days and weeks following Donald Trump’s defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential election, donations poured into LGBT and other progressive groups around the nation in response.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that they have received nearly $12 million since Nov. 8. It led ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero to say that the outpouring of support was the highest in the organization’s nearly 100-year history, “greater than the days after 9/11.”
That illustrates how strongly the fear and anxiety about a Trump presidency ripped through various communities, including immigrants and overall people of color, LGBT people and others. President-elect Trump’s ensuing announcements of various appointments to key posts only contributed to those feelings.
Groups in Georgia were not immune, including those in the LGBT Jewish community. Rebecca Stapel-Wax, executive director of the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN), made another reference to a calamitous historical event while talking to the Georgia Voice following the election.
Stapel-Wax compared the days following Trump’s win to sitting shiva, the Jewish ritual following the death of a loved one.
“That’s what it has been like. Sort of mourning the death of hope and unity, or the chance for that,” she tells the Georgia Voice, adding, “And the fear that I think especially in the Jewish community, this is very reminiscent of what happened in the ’30s.
“We know from the Holocaust that it all started with propaganda and stereotyping and that translated into harassment and discrimination, and obviously genocide. So that’s where we go in our heads.”
But as groups like SOJOURN and others throughout the state deal with their own sense of loss, they are attempting to come out of the fog and turn that angst into action.
The number one fear on most LGBT minds was the crumbling of the community’s greatest victory to date: the legalization of same-sex marriage. Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham points to an analysis of the issue shared by Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Monday following the election.
Minter stated that the existing marriages of same-sex couples “are not in serious or immediate jeopardy,” and pointed out that since the five U.S. Supreme Court justices who were in the majority in the court’s 2015 decision are still on the court, overturning it would be impossible even if President-elect Trump appointed an anti-marriage equality