Gay couples rushed to get married after Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on Tuesday. Many fear that Barrett, whom the HRC called an “absolute threat to LGBTQ rights,” will give conservatives the majority they need to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states. We would never suggest that couples who are ready to get married should not do so, but the six conservative justices now on the court can’t just wake up one morning and overturn Obergefell. We are not lawyers, but it’s our understanding that any reversal would require a case to be filed in a lower court, wend its way through appeals to the Supreme Court, and be heard before a decision could be issued. We have not seen any informed legal analysis of the situation, but panic-marrying this weekend seems unlikely to be necessary.
In happier news, the U.S. Department of State has given up its fight to deny U.S. citizenship to the children of gay couples who were board to surrogates abroad. After backlash from activists and professional organizations, the state of Texas has reversed a rule change that would have allowed social workers to discriminate against LGBTQ clients and those with disabilities. And in a documentary, Pope Francis endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, saying, “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.” Many gay rights activists critized the statement, pointing out that civil unions are not the same as marriages; still, the pope’s words represent a more liberal view than the Catholic Church has hitherto articulated.
In the category of no comment, NBC News reports, “Gay male penguins steal lesbian couple’s eggs at Dutch zoo.” Pink News reports that a pseudoscientific study by the “Spiritual Science Research Foundation” claimed that “85% of gay people are possessed by ghosts.” And The New York Times writes, “Everyone is gay on TikTok: Straight young men on the app are posting suggestive videos with their buddies.” Who knew?
The Times also reviews Bryan Washington’s latest book, Memorial; you may remember Washington from our earlier review of Lot. Richard Neutra’s iconic Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, California, is for sale for $25 million; the house was once owned by Barry Manilow. And the photography annual My Gay Eye #17 focuses on “gay eroticism and body issues”; the Advocate has the scoop here, plus a sampling of images.
And Saturday is Halloween! If the pandemic has a silver lining, it may be that the need for social distancing will spare us a tedious procession of Trump, Biden, RBG, and Amy Coney Barrett costumes. If you’re looking for something to do, you can relive the 2019 WeHo carnival through this photographic series, or watch RuPaul’s Halloween special Friday, October 30, at 3pm ET on World of Wonder’s YouTube channel.
Illustration: El Greco, View of Toledo, 1599-1600 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)