What does Joe Biden’s victory mean to the future of same-sex marriage? Can the LGBTQ community and its allies finally breathe a sigh of relief, or do we still face challenges thanks to a Trump-stacked conservative-bent Supreme Court? Read on for our thoughts.
What Does a Joe Biden & Kamala Harris Victory Mean to the Future of Same-Sex Marriage?
Let me be clear- I am not a lawyer, and this is purely an opinion piece (backed by research, but still an opinion). If you have concerns about the future of your own same-sex marriage, consult with a LGBTQ-friendly lawyer in your own state.
I was standing in front of my TV watching MSNBC when the announcement came through that former VP Joe Biden was now President-Elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was the very first woman AND woman of color to achieve the second-highest position in the United States as his VP. I screamed so loud that my dog thought someone was attacking me, then I burst into tears of relief and joy. With that one announcement, that one moment, I felt like a million pounds lifted off my shoulders.
Like many Americans who voted in record numbers to elect Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris, it’s a moment I will never forget. It’s the moment we finally ended this national nightmare. It’s the moment we finally said “You’re fired!” While we still have to deal with Trump’s tweetstorm tantrums, barrage of lawsuits, and refusal to concede, in the end, Democracy will prevail. 75,582,187 and counting Americans have spoken.
So, what next? What does Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win mean for the future of the LGBTQ community, the future of same-sex marriage, of gay adoption rights, of transgender rights? Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I have a few educated guesses on the subject, as do others. Let’s take a look.
Joe Biden is the first to enter the White House supporting marriage equality
While Obama was the first and only president to truly support gay marriage (despite Trump’s claims that he’s the most “gay-friendly” president ever, his atrocious record says otherwise), Biden is the very first to enter the White House already supporting it, LGBTQ Nation explains.
While some will point out that Biden hasn’t always been supportive of gay marriage (he voted against it back in the 90s and early 2000s), he is one of the community’s staunchest supporters today. In fact, even the Human Rights Campaign proudly endorsed him during the primaries.
Biden will “flat out change the law,” pass Equality Act within first 100 days
When responding to a question about how his administration would protect LGBTQ citizens from discrimination, Biden replied, “I will flat out just change the law [and] eliminate those executive orders.” He was referring to Trump’s executive orders banning transgender people from the military and allowing religious organizations to discriminate freely, among others. Biden has promised to enact the Equality Act within his first 100 days in office. Per NBC News:
The Equality Act would protect U.S. citizens from discrimination based on sexual identity and gender identity by amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the most revered accomplishments of the civil rights movement, which banned discrimination based on race, religion, sex and national origin.
Although Biden may have to fight a conservative-bent Senate (depending on what happens in Georgia’s run-off elections), Slate writes that he can get a lot done even without Senate backing. As he mentioned, he can overturn every last one of Trump’s executive orders. After all, if Trump could dismantle LGBTQ rights from his chair in the Oval Office with nothing more than a stroke of his pen, Biden can build them back up the same way.
Kamala Harris stands up for transgender rights with two small words her in Twitter bio
While all eyes are on how Biden will help solidify and restore LGBTQ protections and keep same-sex marriage legal across the US, Kamala Harris is proving herself to be equally passionate about equality. Her Twitter bio concludes with She/Her. By including her preferred pronouns, Harris sends a clear message of respect, kindness, and compassion for the transgender community.
— Sanjay Sood-Smith (@sanjaysoodsmith) November 7, 2020
Of this small yet meaningful act, Pink News writes:
Including pronouns is important for cisgender people to do, because it normalises the act without placing the onus on trans people. The more cis people do this, the more power it takes away from those who deliberately abuse and misgender trans people online.
Supreme Court could still undo LGBTQ protections
While Biden’s and Harris’ victory spells good news for the community, the threats are far from behind us. During his 4 years in office, Trump managed to install three new ultra-conservative anti-LGBTQ judges to the nation’s highest court. While Neil Gorsuch stated that same-sex marriage rights are a “settled matter,” Amy Coney Barrett was incredibly squirrely in her responses to how she’d handle LGBTQ issues during her confirmation.
Brett Kavanaugh is perhaps the worst of the bunch. Regarding his opening statements in the Philadelphia adoption agency case, Pink News writes, “Brett Kavanaugh shows his hand during Supreme Court religious liberty case – and it’ll chill you to the bone.” That case is still underway in the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh also already signaling that he’s “open to signaling the election for Trump,” according to Slate.
So, as far as cases that hit the Supreme Court, the LGBTQ community is far from out of the woods. However, with Biden’s executive order powers, we can at least breathe a little easier knowing that we finally have a real ally in the White House again.