Karen Ocamb

Did Roe v Wade Lead to Same-Sex Marriage Rights?

Filed By Karen Ocamb | January 23, 2013 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: abortion rights, ACT UP, gay marriage, Roe v Wade, same-sex marriage

E.J. Graff has an interesting piece in The American Prospect arguing that the LGBT community actually has Roe v Wade to thank for same sex marriage.abortion-restrictions.jpg

Is sex evil unless it leads directly to babies? Is marriage only legitimate if it fosters offspring, or is it also for intimacy? The U.S. Supreme Court issued three decisions between June 7, 1965 and Jan. 22, 1973 that collectively give the answer: No. Roe, the last of them, can be thought of as the exclamation mark. As we reflect on the 40th anniversary of that decision, there's another group that has Roe to thank for the rights it enjoys today: LGBT Americans. While many of us in the LGBT community see parallels between the gay and women's rights movements, we often overlook the direct role of Roe in establishing a right to same-sex marriage: If women are permitted to have sex without offspring--even if their contraception fails and those little cells start dividing inside them--then it must also be okay for women and women, or men and men, to have sex without the possibility of fertility. Reproductive freedom and LGBT freedom are two sides of the same idea.

This is an excellent point. I remember when the gay men of ACT UP joined lesbians and feminists in protecting access to and defending clinics under siege by very scary and dangerous Christian fundamentalists under the common agreement that the individual, not the state, should determine what an individual does with his or her own body. Over the years, the so-called Right to Life movement still holds annual marches on the anniversary of Roe v Wade, but the real battleground has shifted to the less showy determination to take over the statehouses and governors' offices and enact state laws that make it virtually impossible - especially for poor women - to have access to a constitutional legal medical procedure. Please watch this comprehensive report by Rachel Maddow and then imagine - if they can do that to women, they can do that to laws protecting LGBT people and people with HIV, too.

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