Republican attacks on LGBT protections threaten equality

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

For those who were comforted by President Donald Trump’s pledge to protect the LGBT community from “violence and oppression,” don’t get too comfortable. You are forgetting about the rest of the GOP. It took until the beginning of March — almost two whole months — for Texas Republicans to start their attempts to change the protections in place for LGBT persons working for federal agencies. 

Opponents to same-sex marriage are pushing the Texas Supreme Court, which dismissed the case last year, to find that married gay couples have no right to spousal benefits, despite their constitutional right to marriage. However, given the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States on June 26, 2015 that stated same-sex couples are entitled to “equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” it is unclear whether they aim to remove this right from all couples, or if they instead plan to redefine the word “equal.”

Since there are obviously people on the other side of the aisle, let me just define what it is to be equal. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of equal, which is essential when discussing equality, is “like for each member of a group, class, or society” or “regarding or affecting all objects in the same way.” These definitions leave very little wiggle room for opponents of marriage equality, but don’t think that has stopped them.

In response to the news that the Texas Supreme Court intended to hear arguments on this issue, a slew of interested parties sent letters, emails and even arrived in person to contribute their two cents. 

Some opponents to the law have argued that it has no basis in constitutional history, but given that those people have likely already heard the arguments about precisely what the Constitution did allow at it’s creation, I will not bore them with more statements of our country’s evolving morals. 

Their argument, in a nutshell? Though Obergefell v. Hodges granted gay couples the right to marriage, it did not entitle them to the same rights as a “traditional” couple. Some, like the Institute for Creation Research, decided to go for broke and just try to abolish same-sex marriage entirely. 

The biggest problem with their arguments — beyond trying to tell people who they can love, of course — is that a legally recognized marriage deserves the same rights as every other legally recognized union. Gay people are taxpayers after all, and have a right to public services like anyone else. Just because you don’t agree with who is getting married does not give you the right to break the law. 

You may call my relationship a “perversity” and my sister’s wedlock a “mock form of marriage,” but you cannot take away our hard-fought rights. Try all you want, but we will keep fighting. 

When it comes down to it, we will fight for your rights too, because all we want is equality. 

Bonfiglio is a journalism junior from Oak Creek, Colorado. Follow her on Twitter @NahilaBonfiglio.