Republicans are coming after same-sex marriage – and won’t stop there

Show caption An activist flies a ‘marriage pride flag’ outside the US supreme court on 9 January 2015 in Washington DC as it deliberated on legalizing same-sex marriage. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images Opinion Republicans are coming after same-sex marriage – and won’t stop there Arwa Mahdawi I got gay-married last year and naively thought I wouldn’t have to worry about the government nullifying my nuptials Sat 9 Apr 2022 14.00 BST Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share via Email

Republicans are aggressively undermining gay marriage

An adult marrying another adult of the same sex? Outrageous; the Lord will smite thee. An adult marrying a child of the opposite sex, on the other hand? Totally fine with God, apparently.

Such is the perverse logic of the always righteous Republicans, a number of whom recently sponsored legislation that would legalize common law marriage in Tennessee. While that sounds innocuous on the surface the legislation is a shameless attempt to undermine same-sex marriage, which has been legal across the US since 2015. The bill’s mastermind, the Tennessee state senator Janice Bowling, explained that the bill declares “that the marriage between a man and a woman is not a creation of the state government or its statutes, it is a common law right”. Bowling also noted that the bill provides “an alternative form of marriage for those pastors and other individuals who have a conscientious objection to the current pathway to marriage in our law”.

These conscientious objectors were so busy being homophobic that they didn’t have any time to be concerned about minor things like child marriage, it seems. The original iteration of the bill essentially eliminated minimum age limits to get married and paved the way for child marriage. As another state senator, Raumesh Akbari from Memphis, told reporters: “It’s ugly enough Republicans are advancing an unconstitutional bill to undermine marriage equality, but the fact that this bill reopens the debate on child marriage is outrageous.” The Republicans backing the bill didn’t seem too bothered by the whole child marriage thing when it was first pointed out but, after international backlash, they inserted an amendment adding a minimum age requirement of 17. Very noble of them.

I got gay-married in the US last year and was naive enough to think that I wouldn’t have to worry about the government nullifying my nuptials. I thought, stupidly, that we were beyond all that: there is very broad support for same-sex marriage across pretty much every age group in the US, after all. And, for the last few years, Republicans have largely laid off the subject. Now, however, Republicans have fully ripped their masks off and are making no secret of the fact they intend to make second-class citizens of anyone in the US who isn’t a rich cis white dude.

There hasbeen an avalanche of bills attempting to undermine the constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion and a horrifying – and historic – wave of anti-LGBT legislation. Bloomberg reports that “Republican legislators have proposed at least 325 [anti-LGBT] bills so far [this year], with about 130 targeting transgender rights specifically. That’s already ahead of the 268 introduced last year, a previous record. A total of 27 made it into law in 2021, for the worst year in recent history for anti-LGBTQ legislation.”

And while Republicans used to be relatively quiet about same-sex marriage, they’re now increasingly making noise about it. Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, for example, used the supreme court confirmation process of now-Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to repeatedly opine that the high court wrongfully invented the right to same-sex marriage.

The moral of this story? All of our rights are inextricably connected. Conservatives are not going to focus only on trans people and leave cis gay people alone. They’re not going to focus their energies on undermining reproductive rights and ignore LGBT people. They’re coming for everyone who doesn’t look and think like them. We cannot draw lines between the struggle for trans rights or gay rights or women’s rights: we are all in it together. The Republicans have made it very clear that if they haven’t come for your civil rights yet they will do so very soon.

Why are Republicans calling everyone who disagrees with them a ‘pedophile’ now?

Because they’re morally bankrupt basically. And there may be a fair bit of projection going on since the Republican party appears to be disproportionately full of perverts and seemingly unbothered about things like child marriage.

US states with the harshest abortion laws are the worst places to raise kids

An analysis of federal data by the Associated Press found states with the most severe abortion laws have some of the weakest social programs in the US. So they force you to have a kid and then they do absolutely nothing to help give the kid a good start in life. Almost like they’re not actually pro-life, just pro-controlling women! Of course, conservative lawmakers seem unable to see the hypocrisy. In response to the AP study many conservative state lawmakers said, “don’t worry … you can just give up the child for adoption.”

Famous women are giving cryptocurrency the #girlboss treatment

It seems that Gwyneth Paltrow has moved on from hawking vagina candles to shilling crypto and NFTs. “We have watched a lot of these bros get together and earn a lot of money,” Paltrow said in a recent Zoom presentation on crypto. “We deserve to be in this space just as much.” Nothing screams “feminism” like equal opportunity grifting!

Spain bans harassment of women having abortions

Anyone trying “to impede [a woman] from exercising her right to voluntarily interrupt pregnancy” through “bothersome, offensive, intimidating or threatening acts” will face jail time of between three and 12 months.

High-profile women on Instagram face ‘epidemic of misogynist abuse’

There are approximately a gazillion studies showing social media to be a misogynistic hellhole. Now there’s another one. Will anything be done about it? I very much doubt it.

The ‘Sports Bra’: the world’s first sports bar showing only women’s sports

The punny bar is based in Portland, Oregon, and was set up to try to address the gender imbalance in sports coverage. While 40% of professional athletes are female, women’s sports make up only 4% of all sports media coverage.

One in five young Australian women feels more unsafe in public since pandemic began

For women with disabilities, it is more than one in four.

What’s at stake for women in the French election?

Emmanuel Macron has promised gender equality would be the “grand cause” of his second term if he won. He also promised that before he won his first term. And then he went on to do things like wage a war on Muslim women and appoint hard-right Gérald Darmanin as interior minister in 2020 when the man was under investigation for rape. Macron defended his decision saying he trusted the minister “man to man” and the investigation was eventually dropped. So he hasn’t exactly distinguished himself over the past four years.

Gender-neutral words like ‘person’ are perceived as male

A new study suggests that the perceived meaning of these labels is biased toward men. In other words: “whatever terms people may use in describing the average human, they are often mentally defaulting to ‘male’.”

The week in (monkey) pawtriarchy

Remember Yakei? She made headlines last year after beating up her own mother to become the alpha female of the troop at the Takasakiyama natural zoological garden in Japan. She then roughed up the alpha male and became boss of a troop of 677 monkeys: the first alpha female in the reserve’s 70-year history. Guess what? She’s still going strong. The New York Times reports that while a messy love triangle threatened to weaken her grip on power she’s still the troop’s alpha. Long live the polyamorous matricidal monkey queen!

Arwa Mahdawi’s new book, Strong Female Lead, is available for order