BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Emails and calls from same-sex couples, worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children, flooded Sydney Duncan’s law office within hours of the Court’s The Supreme Court decided to remove the constitutional right to abortion.
Last week’s ruling does not directly affect the 2015 decision to pave the way for same-sex marriage. Still, Duncan said, it’s still a warning shot to families headed by same-sex parents who fear their rights could disappear like those seeking to end a pregnancy.
Duncan, who specializes in representing members of the LGBTQ community at the Magic City Legal Center in Birmingham, said: “It scares a lot of people and I think it is.
Overturning a nearly 50-year-old precedent, the Supreme Court ruled in a Mississippi case that abortion was not protected by the Constitution, a decision potentially lead to bans in about half of the states. Justice Samuel Alito said the ruling concerns only medical procedures, writing: “Nothing in this view should be construed to cast doubt on precedents unrelated to abortion.”
But Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas urges his colleagues to review the cases allow same-sex marriage, gay sex and contraception.
The three most liberal members of the court warned in their dissent that the ruling could be used to challenge other individual liberties: “The majority opinion is hypocritical or additional constitutional rights are at stake. It is this or that”.
That prospect has some LGBTQ couples worried about a return to a time when they didn’t have the same rights as heterosexual couples to marry under the law. Many, fearing that their marital status was in jeopardy, are now turning to addressing underlying medical, parental and legacy issues.
Dawn Betts-Green and his wife Anna Green wasted no time doing their legal paperwork following the decision. They went to a legal clinic for families of same-sex parents to begin the will-making process.
Betts-Green, who works with an Alabama-based nonprofit, tells the history of LGBTQ people in the South, “That way, if they take us back to the Black Ages,” Once again, we have legal protections for our relationship.
As a white woman married to a Black transgender man, Robbin Reed of Minneapolis felt particularly vulnerable. A decision to destroy same-sex marriage or interracial union would completely ruin Reed’s life, including the couple’s 3-month-old baby.
“I don’t expect that anything about my marriage will be safe,” said Reed, a legal assistant.
Reed’s owner, Sarah Breiner of Breiner Law Firm, is hosting seminars in both the Twin Cities and the Atlanta area to help same-sex couples navigate potential legal needs following the court decision. Breiner says helping people stay calm about the future is part of her job these days.
“We didn’t know what could happen, and that’s the problem,” Breiner said.
In a sign of what could be, the state of Alabama invoked the abortion ruling by asking a federal appeals court to allow it to enforce the state’s new law. Therefore, it is a felony for doctors to prescribe puberty-blocking drugs and hormones to transgender people under the age of 19, the state announced that the decision to enact the right to restrict abortion means that the states also could ban medical treatments for transgender youth.
Cathryn Oakley, senior counsel and state legislative director with the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, said any attempt to annul same-sex marriage would begin with a lawsuit and any The possibility of a comeback is likely for many years to come as no major regulatory threats are imminent. an LGBTQ advocacy organization.
“This is definitely a scary moment and people are very nervous, but everyone’s marriage is going on safely,” Oakley said.
Although the threat to same-sex couples feels particularly acute in conservative states, Oakley said she has heard of people across the country in recent days looking for second-parent adoptions. Second, this protects a family by having both the adoptive parents’ names on the birth certificate. . People are also completing medical directives in the event of a spouse becoming incapacitated and are planning a joint estate, she said.
Law firm Ryanne Seyba in Hollywood, Florida, is offering free second parent adoptions, similar to step-parent adoptions, to eligible same-sex couples to help relieve some of the stress. possible effects of the decision to have an abortion.
“We realized last week when (the verdict) was made, we needed to do something,” said Seyba of The Upgrade Lawyers.
A judge in Broward County plans to have a special date in August to finalize all adoptions at once, Seyba said. If nothing else, completing the process would give worried families more safety, she said.
“If same-sex marriage is gone, we really don’t know what will happen,” she said. “Better to be on the safe side. ”
Associated Press writer Kim Chandler in Montgomery contributed to this report.