Le­gal ex­pert at­tempts to calm fears about mar­riage equal­ity

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

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

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