Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made it clear that overturning Roe v. Wade was about more than abortion. In his opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson released Friday, he wrote that past rulings allowing same-sex marriage and access to contraception should also be reconsidered. While there’s not an imminent threat to marriage equality, Thomas was more or less inviting new cases for the high court to consider.
Since June is Pride month, the timing was auspicious. His words were on the minds of people hanging in the grass at Civic Center Park for Denver’s annual PrideFest. We talked to people about their thoughts on Friday’s decision, where they were finding solace and asked them to show us some love.
“It’s very concerning,” Jonathon Torres said of Roe’s repeal as he sat with his husband, James Pablo. “We just got married. It’s been one year.”
“It’s been two,” Pablo interjected.
Both men were unsettled by the decision’s immediate impact on reproductive rights and they were aware of Justice Thomas’ opinion. While they took it as a threat, they also said they believe America’s political trajectory will change course, though it will take work.
“It’s scary, because the realization is they can go after things like that,” Pablo said. “I don’t believe it’s hopeless. I don’t believe it’s a lost cause.”
Jaris Thomas, who was walking through the park hand-in-hand with Rowdy Greene, said he was more upset than afraid.
“It disgusts me to know we are going to turn back the hands of time,” he said.
But he and Greene said they’ve found solace in each other and a much broader group of people resistant to Roe’s rollback.
“We’ll stand in support of women and their right to choose, we’ll feel confident that they’ll stand for us,” Greene said. “We’ll fight for each other and with each other. It is a scary time, but you have to have a positive outlook.”
Briggs, a former West High School student, visited PrideFest with her former teacher and “adopted mom,” Dez Baldonado. While Briggs said they were enraged by the high court’s decision — they yelled “My life supposedly begins at conception and ends at the end of an AR-15” — they also said they’ve found immense support from people in their life. The “plutonic love” they share with Baldonado, they told us, is huge in a moment like this.
“Queer youth, especially, need people who will respect them and take care of them and love them,” they said. “We need to work together and we need to fight.”
This turned out to be a bigger theme on Saturday.
“The last few years have been womp womp,” longtime PrideFest Emcee DeMarcio Slaughter said to a crowd gathered at the Greek Amphitheatre. “Today is all about love.”
The original plan for his 2022 piece, “Gather Together in Pride,” was to portray “a world on fire.” But he said he realized the idea didn’t quite fit his outlook on this moment. Instead, he turned the globe into an orb of painted flowers, drawing inspiration from a Buddhist principle to “participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.”
When we asked him to show us love, he pressed his hands together in prayer, then said: “They cant bring us back.”