June 25, 2022

Joe Ripley | 11Alive | June 25, 2022

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ATLANTA — The Supreme Court's ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson has resulted in building concern among the LGBT community. Many are worried rights such as access to contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages could be at risk after Friday's ruling.

Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, disapproved of the High Court's decision on Dobbs, which effectively overturned Roe v. Wade. Young called the decision devastating for women’s health and their right to make private and personal decisions.

"It feels like this is a court from the 19th century," Young said. "There is a real threat. The kind of reasoning that allows you to overthrow a 50-year precedent opens the door to certainly overturn less robust and less long-lasting precedence. Anything is up for grabs now. We don’t know what the boundaries are of this court.”

Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, said the Supreme Court's decision had a direct impact on the LGBT community.

"It has an immediate impact on members of the transgender community, limiting their access to healthcare services that may be needed to save their life, that may be needed to protect them and certainly needed to protect their bodily autonomy and right to freedoms," Graham said. “We do need to be very concerned about what the future holds.”

In his concurring opinion on Dobbs, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the court should reconsider precedents set in cases that established access to contraception and same-sex marriage as federally protected rights. While many feared the Dobbs ruling would open the door to overturn previous major decisions, Graham said there was no need to panic because there wasn't an imminent, broad implication to go after other rights as of yet.

"All of those are rights we now see could be jeopardized in the future, but I think it’s important for folks to understand we should be outraged about these direct attacks on people who can be pregnant, because that’s a very real threat to autonomy to so much of are population," Graham said.

Greg Nevins, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, expects current marriages to be upheld and said there has been a history of wanting to protect marriages at the federal level. Nevins said Lambda Legal is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization dedicated to recognizing the civil rights of the LGBT community and those living with HIV. Nevins told 11Alive that Thomas' comments of revisiting past decisions did not get a lot of support on the bench.

"There’s always a very strong desire in the law to preserve marriages that were legit and legal when entered into," Nevins said. ”There are a lot of reasons reading that decision could make you nervous, but I think the arguments going on our side will carry the day.”

Young said those who disagree with the Supreme Court's ruling on Dobbs should channel their emotions into action by electing more officials intent on restoring those rights that were lost.

"If we can expand and clarify the right to privacy in the state of Georgia, that's a win for women's health," Young said. "It's also a win for the LGBT community."