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Abortion ruling looms large as Pride marchers take to US streets

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People attending Pride celebrations hosted by LGBTQ+ communities across the United States this weekend expressed outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion and a wave of anti-transgender legislation.

For more than 50 years, LGBTQ+ people and supporters have marched on the last weekend in June to celebrate hard-won freedoms. But now many fear that those freedoms are under threat.

Pride parades in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver followed protests in some of the same cities that overturned Friday’s Supreme Court decision over the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which banned abortion nationwide. legalized, undo.

“This march is going to have more of a serious tone than a celebratory tone, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” said Krystal Marx, executive director of Seattle Pride, which drew thousands to his parade Sunday.

In New York City, crowds of people dressed in rainbow colors cheered as representatives of the abortion rights group Planned Parenthood took part in a parade in Manhattan. The protesters were holding pink signs that read ‘Together. We fight for everyone.”

“Everyone please shout for Planned Parenthood!” shouted an announcer through a loudspeaker. “We won’t back down!” the crowd responded.

The marches commemorate protests that broke out after police raided a gay bar at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969.

LGBTQ leaders fear the abortion ruling of the conservative court judges jeopardizes personal freedom beyond abortion rights. In a unanimous opinion, Judge Clarence Thomas wrote that the Court could reconsider other precedents, especially rulings protecting rights to contraception, same-sex intimacy and same-sex marriage.

“The anti-abortion playbook and the anti-LGBTQ playbook are one and the same. Both are about denying control over our bodies and making it more dangerous for us to live as we are,” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, said in a statement.

Even before the Supreme Court ruling against abortion rights, the LGBTQ+ community’s Pride Month cheer was weighed down by a series of Republican-backed state laws that specifically target transgender youth.

The measures enacted in several red states ban discussions about gender identity in the classroom, block access to health care to help young people make the transition and restrict participation in sports.

In Texas, where Republican Governor Greg Abbott has called for prosecutions for certain gender-affirming concerns like child abuse, the line from overthrowing Roe to rolling back LGBTQ+ rights was clear to Patrick Smith, who attended the Pride Parade in Houston.

“The government must keep out of our private lives,” said Smith, who attended the event with his partner on Saturday. “Women went first. I’m afraid what could happen to us.”

Abortion and transgender rights were high on the agenda at San Francisco’s Pride parade, where people carried placards reading “Abort the Court,” “Protect trans youth,” and organizers led a chant of “Get your laws off our bodies.”

“It feels like a cloud hangs over anyone with a uterus,” said Maya Reddick, a high school student who attends the San Francisco party with friends. She was holding a sign that read ‘reproductive rights are human rights’.

(REUTERS)

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