The LGBTQ media advocacy organization GLAAD has released two new ads highlighting the stakes for LGBTQ Americans in the upcoming midterm elections in order to urge them — and their straight, cisgender allies — to vote for pro-equality candidates.
The first ad, titled “Marriage Threat,” was created in collaboration with Family Equality, and began airing on Oct. 12, with a digital and broadcast media buy that stretches nationwide.
In the ad, a married gay couple, Kent and Diego, describe how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case, potentially threatens LGBTQ families and their marriages. The ad implores viewers to show up to the polls this November to protect families headed by same-sex couples.
“When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we both looked at each other and said: ‘I think our family could be at risk,'” Diego says in the ad.
“When we fought for marriage equality, we never thought we would be at risk of having it taken away,” adds Kent, as pictures of their wedding day and video of the couple at a park, watching while their two sons play on a jungle gym, plays. “Walking down the aisle was very special and something I never imagined would happen for me.”
“We can no longer take for granted the rights we thought were our protections,” says Diego. “And marriage equality could be next. We all have to turn out to vote. It’s important for all families.”
Ever since the high court’s decision in June overturning Roe, supporters of marriage equality, particularly Democrats, have argued that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has shown it has no regard for precedent, and therefore cannot be trusted not to attempt to overturn the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized marriage equality nationwide. Additionally, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion specifically singled out the Obergefell case as one that should be reconsidered by the court.
As such, congressional Democrats have pushed for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would require the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples as valid and deserving of the same rights and benefits bestowed upon opposite-sex marriages. The act passed the House in July with the support of every member of the Democratic caucus, and 47 Republicans.
Currently, Democrats need 10 Republican senators to vote for cloture to end debate on the bill in hopes of passing it with a simply majority. A Senate vote on the measure has been delayed until the lame-duck session after November’s elections, at the request of a bipartisan group of senators seeking to lobby Republican senators to vote for the measure.
At first blush, a “yes” vote — especially one held after Election Day, when GOP lawmakers can afford to alienate part of their party’s conservative base — seems like the practical choice. According to Gallup, a record high 71% of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support same-sex nuptials. But it is unclear how many senators are willing to stand with the majority of Americans, even if it might cost them the votes or praise of socially conservative voters.
Additionally, if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chooses to indefinitely postpone the vote until a later legislative session, any Republican electoral victories, particularly in the upper chamber, would not only put Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate but would all but ensure a vote is never taken on the issue — leaving LGBTQ families potentially in the lurch and at the mercy of the whims of Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices.
Besides the “Marriage Threat” ad, GLAAD has also released a public service announcement for the web featuring the Briggle family of Texas, a family with a transgender child.
“Do you want to meet a family of a transgender kid? Here we are,” says mother Amber, as video of the family of four flashes on the screen.
“There are some politicians who are trying to tear my family apart, simply because my son is transgender,” adds Amber, as video shows her son playing the guitar, somersaulting on an enclosed trampoline with his sister in the backyard, posing with what appear to be competition medals, and walking through nature.
“Trans kids don’t have a political agenda. They are just kids. They wanna be left alone. They have the same hopes and dreams and deserve the same equality as your child does,” notes Amber. “My family is just like yours. We love our kids unconditionally and we will never stop fighting for them. Stand with us.”
A narrator then intones: “Make a plan to vote before Election Day,” as the message: “Protect our families. Vote,” flashes on screen with the web address of GLAAD’s voter mobilization page, www.glaad.org/vote.
“The stakes could not be higher,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, said in a statement. “Every LGBTQ person and every one of our allies must hear the warning in these ads and make a plan to vote. The legal protection of our marriages is at risk, and marriage equality is on the ballot. We urgently need everyone to speak up for LGBTQ people with their votes to protect our marriages, our children, our families and our futures.”
“It’s clear from the 300-plus anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the United States in 2022 that our families are at risk,” Family Equality CEO Stacey Stevenson added in a statement. “Our legal protections are at risk. Our kids are at risk. The LGBTQ+ community and our allies must come together and vote. We can’t afford to sit this one out.”
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