There is a lot of chatter on Social Media about Trump ending marriage equality. In the midst of the pain and hurt so many of us are feeling, it is important not to exaggerate or make problems that don’t really exist, and this is one of them. First of all, Trump can’t simply end marriage equality. Nationally, marriage equality exists because the Supreme Court found that is was unconstitutional to keep same sex couples from getting civil married. Trump can’t change that.
But here is what Trump can do.
He can affect the Supreme Court through his appointments such that if another case were to come before the court, the court could reverse itself. That is scary stuff to be sure, but it isn’t a quick or easy change.
- There is only one open seat one the court at the moment. It is questionable if filling that seat with an ultra conservative would be enough to sway the court to reverse it’s position. It probably wouldn’t be enough. If another seat opens, then there is a greater likelihood of that happening.
- A case would have to wind it’s way through the courts and get to the Supreme court. That’s possible but not immediate.
- Remember, the Supreme Court didn’t actually find in favor of same-sex marriage. What it found was the practice of discriminating against same-sex couples was unconstitutional. This is an important distinction because it impacts what type of case could get before the court.
There are two bigger issues that we may have to confront!
At the state level, there is a chance that states could again try and define marriage as between a man and a woman. This is a real threat, and deserves a longer post of its own. Look for that later.
At the state and federal level, legislation can (and will most likely) be passed to allow discrimination based on religious freedom. So a bake will be able to legally refuse to bake a wedding cake, and that sort of thing. This too, is a point that deserves a post of it own, so I’ll be writing more about it later.
Even if Trump and the GOP can get the court reversed on marriage equality, there is little likelihood that they can take away marriage licenses from people who are already married.