Many LGBTQ+ and polyamorous people are concerned about what a conservative Supreme Court means for your rights, especially now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. We'll help you prepare to protect your family.
What does this mean for LGBTQ+ rights? How can you protect your family & community?
We share your outrage and heartbreak over the Dobbs v. Jackson decision written by Associate Justice Alito that overturned Roe v. Wade after 50 years and casts doubt on the “right to privacy” stemming in part from that foundational decision. His strict ‘originalist’ reading of the constitution attacks our access to any rights, like abortion, that weren’t specifically mentioned in the 233-year-old document.
This has far-reaching implications for our rights related to marriage, family, contraception, and sexual privacy, as Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurrence suggesting that all these cases and rights be reevaluated. All LGBTQ+ people should realize our common interests and stand united in the movement for reproductive justice and the right to privacy and bodily autonomy for all people.
Clarence Thomas’ concurrence is a frightening signpost for where the religious right wants to go, but it is not law. He has laid out his intention to destroy the right to privacy, and we can take it as an opportunity to understand and prepare for what’s coming.
We’ve received many questions about how to protect your family in this alarming time, particularly regarding parentage. We have a new expanded section below on the difference between Adoption vs Parentage proceedings for LGBTQ+ families and what to do in NY state.
If you are transgender, in a same-sex marriage, or are in a multi-partner family, get your legal paperwork in order now. We are here to help.
How to Protect Your LGBTQ+ Family
The general information below does not constitute legal advice. To request legal advice specific to your situation, contact us for a consultation.
In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the Court should go further and consider striking down the 2015 Obergefell decision, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. If this happens: we believe your existing same-sex marriage will still be valid. Your rights in New York and more progressive Democrat-led states are unlikely to change, but at least 20 conservative states have signaled they would ban same-sex marriages going forward. Your right to marry may be state-specific.
Impact of Possible Repeal of Anti-Sodomy Laws:
Justice Thomas also signaled the possibility that Lawrence v. Texas from 2003 could be overturned, which invalidated state laws that criminalized sodomy and other consensual sex between adults. This would have alarming impacts on our rights to sexual privacy, particularly for LGBTQ+ people. If Lawrence is overturned, 16 states have some form of anti-sodomy laws still on the books that could criminalize LGBTQ+ sex: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas.
If you live in one of these states, you may want to work now to get these laws overturned. If Lawrence is overruled, and you have the privilege to do so, you may want to avoid these states until these laws are overturned.
Justice Thomas also argued that the Court should reconsider the seminal 1965 case Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to contraception. This could be an even more devastating blow to reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy than Dobbs on its own, since it would open the door for states to place bans on the morning after pill, IUDs, birth control pills, and condoms. Although no states have outright bans on all contraceptives still on their books, several states currently equate certain types of contraception with abortion and have been moving towards wider bans in the wake of Dobbs. For example, Oklahoma’s now-contitutional abortion ban includes a ban of IUDs, since IUDs can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
If you live in a state with an abortion ban, you should research whether that ban includes any contraceptives. If Griswold is overturned, and you have the privilege to do so, you may want to choose to not live in or travel to these states.
Impact on Procedural Justice due to so-called ‘Religious Freedom’:
In its decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District released on June 27, the Supreme Court upheld for the first time the right of a government employee to express their religious beliefs in their official capacity. In combination with the threat to substantive due process in Dobbs, this ruling could have devastating effects on the procedural due process rights of LGBTQIA+ people. Conservative government employees may try to use this new precedent to argue that it violates their freedom of religion to process the marriage certificates of same sex couples, file the name changes of transgender people, or grant parentage to polyamorous people. If this happens, people from marginalized communities across the country may find it extremely difficult or impossible to access government benefits or justice through the court system.
If You Are Transgender:
If You Are a Non-Biological Parent:
For All LGBTQ+ People & Those In Non-Nuclear or Polyamorous Families:
GET YOUR PAPERWORK IN ORDER and support your queer community with doing the same: Our sister nonprofit Chosen Family Law Center provides all of this legal paperwork for free to low-income residents of New York. Your donation will provide desperately needed security to others at risk.
Sign up for our monthly newsletter to stay informed on the latest in LGBTQ+ and inclusive family law, as well as our speaking and teaching events!