Pushback against the pushback

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When the nation won marriage equality last year, most pundits predicted that there would be pushback. With a hotly debated social issue making such immense progress in such a short amount of time, it was bound to rattle the cages of the most extreme of opponents.

In a short time, we saw the rise of so-called “religious-freedom” bills, designed to exempt bigoted individuals and organizations from following the law of the land, and other legislative efforts designed to slow the inevitable. This week, however, we thankfully witnessed some sharp resistance to that wave.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned an Alabama Supreme Court decision that effectively invalidated adoption by same-sex partners in that state. The top court unanimously shot down the state court’s finding, without even permitting a hearing on the merits of the case — a strong and resonating rebuke. The basic right of a parent to be a parent shouldn’t be an issue that progressed to the highest court in the nation; however, that it did illuminates the lengths opponents are eager to go to chip away at basic human rights. However, that SCOTUS cleared the way, summarily and forcibly, for same-sex adoption illustrates that the pushback is not without its own opposition. 

Likewise, LGBTs and allies are hailing the work of a coalition of Democratic state senators in Missouri who spent 39 hours filibustering a “religious-freedom” bill. For nearly two days, the handful of senators waxed philosophical on the measure and even spiraled off on tangents about everything from fashion to cinema to run down the clock. Unfortunately, Republicans ultimately forced a vote on the measure, which was approved 21-11. But the efforts of the long-talking lawmakers were praised state- and nationwide, with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon calling them “heroic” and LGBT and ally organizations across the country heralding their efforts. 

Even though the bill passed that first hurdle, the lawmakers who took a stand against it exhibited the resilience that is needed to resist anti-LGBT pushback.

Discriminatory bills and court rulings will doubtlessly persist — but, if the foresight of the Supreme Court and the fortitude of the Missouri Democrats showed us anything, it’s that there are people at the ready to push right back.