Dear Family Equality Council Friends,
A week has now passed since we awoke with the realization that the political landscape for the LGBTQ community – and the nation as a whole – looks dramatically different.
In the days following the election, we made three commitments, and we want to reiterate these to you now:
- We will do everything in our power to keep you and your families safe and to protect your rights.
- We will be vigilant, watching for any attempts to roll back protections or infringe upon the rights of our community.
- As an organization, our stance is to be ready to engage and to hope for the best, but to remain prepared for the worst.
We’ve heard many questions over the past week, and wanted to share our answers to the most common ones, as we feel it may benefit all of our families.
Is the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality safe?
The number one question we hear you asking is whether the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling is safe. The answer is yes. There is no realistic chance that existing marriages will be invalidated, and while the same five justices that ruled twice in favor of marriage equality remain on the Court, our marriages will remain safe. There is also no rush to get married if you weren’t already considering tying the knot. Access to marriage, and the rights and obligations that accompany it, are not going anywhere.
What should you do to protect your family?
While marriage equality may be safe, it is likely that the legal recognition and legal protections that our families currently enjoy will come under attack. In particular, it is important to secure legal ties between parents and children. We strongly recommend that you take the following actions, if you haven’t already:
- Seek confirmatory adoptions for all children where you do not currently have a legally recognized relationship, either through birth or adoption, even if your name is listed on the child’s birth certificate.
- Complete family planning paperwork to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of a tragedy: this includes a Last Will and Testament for each adult, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, designation of guardians, and Living Wills.
- If you are not covered by a health insurance plan, take advantage of the current Open Enrollment period to get insured now. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act leaves open the question of whether current rules regarding pre-existing conditions and exclusions will remain in place in the future, so now is the time to get coverage.
What can you do to help?
Although the transition is taking place slowly, the presence of several individuals with a history of taking anti-LGBTQ positions close to the President-elect gives us strong cause for concern. Mike Pence has a lengthy track record of supporting and spearheading anti-LGBTQ legislation; Ken Blackwell, a research fellow with an anti-LGBT hate group, is tipped to head the administration’s transition team on domestic issues; and Donald Trump has pledged to sign the First Amendment Defense Act, a piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation disguised as a “religious freedom” bill, if it is passed by Congress.
In this context, Family Equality Council’s work at the state and local levels will take on even greater importance. While we are committed to working with the dedicated civil servants who will remain in place to ensure administrative gains are protected, or to limit as much as possible the damage caused by their roll back, we recognize that our greatest power to advance family-friendly legislation and to protect against attacks on our families lies at the state level and in our communities. We have a successful track record in this area: in 2016 alone we were able to defeat bills in three states that directly targeted our families’ ability to foster and adopt, disguised as religious freedom bills. We will continue to ensure that the voices of our families are heard loud and clear – in state houses, in the federal government, and in communities – and to challenge any attempt to strip away our hard-won gains.
The first step is to get connected with us, and to ask your friends, family, and allies to join us:
By staying connected, you’ll be the first to hear about opportunities to take action, and to advocate for our community with state and federal lawmakers.
The second step is to make a donation. Now, more than ever, we need to secure the additional resources we need to tackle this expanded and challenging political landscape head on. Any amount will help expand the reach of our talented team of staff, volunteers, and supporters, increasing the impact of our work.
What else you need to know
Members of our Policy Team will be hosting a conference call shortly after the Thanksgiving Holiday which will provide an opportunity to address your questions or concerns following the election.
If history has taught us anything, it is that in challenging times we can still make progress if we stick together. Know that we are here for you, and together we know we have the tenacity, courage, and strength to fight for the lived and legal equality our families deserve.
In solidarity and with love,
– Stan Sloan, CEO