LEGAL UPDATE: JAN 2019

Wednesday, January 02, 2019 6:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Monthly Update from Michele Zavos:

"Many people have been asking me what the ramifications are for our community now that Brett Kavanaugh has been appointed to the Supreme Court.  Given Kavanaugh’s ultra conservative legal positions, the easiest answer is that issues previously decided by the Court by 5 to 4 (with Anthony Kennedy casting the winning vote in our favor) will now almost certainly be 5 to 4 with Kavanaugh casting the deciding vote against us.

Actually, the implications of Kavanaugh's appointment are even more far-reaching. The right wing has already begun to file cases in lower federal courts cases that it hopes will get to the Supreme Court. Chris Johnson, a reporter for the Washington Blade, discussed a number of these cases in a terrific article on October 19, 2018. The information in the article is extremely distressing, noting challenges to anti-discrimination statutes and supporting protections to religious freedoms over LGBT protections.

At the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh will almost certainly provide the deciding vote to narrow or even overturn previous cases like Obergefell v. Hodges, where the Supreme Court found that marriage equality was required by the U.S. Constitution. Justice Kennedy cast the deciding vote in that case. Now, Brett Kavanaugh will cast the deciding vote in similar cases.

There are a number of cases out of Texas which will adversely affect our entire community if they reach the Supreme Court. One such case is Pidgeon v. Turner. Petitioners in that case challenged the City of Houston’s provision of benefits to the same-sex spouses of city employees. The original case was decided before Obergefell but rather than dismiss the case, the Texas Supreme Court has allowed the case to continue post-Obergefell. Petitioners’ argument is that Obergefell only requires the issuance of a marriage certificate, it does not require that the rights and responsibilities of marriage be given to same-sex couples on the same basis of opposite-sex couples. I think this is the kind of argument the right wing will make in order to narrow marriage equality almost to the point of extinction."

Note:  The Rainbow Families Legal Blog posts are submitted by Rainbow Families' member Michele Zavos, and are entirely her opinion.  Michele, a long-time LGBTQ+ advocate, is a partner at Zavos-Juncker law firm, and has fought for LGBTQ+ rights for decades.   She may be reached HERE


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