With the roar of motorcycles engines, an ecstatic crowd and all the colors of the rainbow splashed as far as the eye could see, Pride made its grand return to the city of San Francisco. But it wasn’t all about celebration.
Despite trans flag-draped youth holding hands, and hats and shoes decked out to the nines, the energy at Sunday’s Pride parade was split between pent-up jubilance and determined activism. In many ways, this year’s event shared more in common with the first Pride march than most.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating constitutional guarantees to an abortion. Due to trigger laws — laws passed by state legislators pending the Supreme Court ruling — several states immediately banned, or will soon ban, nearly all abortive procedures.
The iconic annual parade, canceled twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, was flush with spirit as both revelers and demonstrators, all clad in bright colors, marched down Market Street with a sense of purpose.
Pro-choice demonstrators yelled out:
“Our body, our choice!”
Deb Letner, a Dykes on Bikes participant from Castro Valley, told SFBay that she cried when she heard that Roe v. Wade had been overturned.
Letner explains her feelings:
“I am not someone who believes in forced birthing. So it doesn’t matter if you are against the idea of abortion or not, you should be against forcing a woman to give birth to a child when’s she does not want to and that’s pretty much where I stand: It’s her decision, period.”
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court majority (5-4) argued that Roe v. Wade cannot be reliant on the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Justice Clarence Thomas, a conservative appointed by former President George H. W. Bush, suggested in a concurring opinion that other cases built on the same privacy clause should be reexamined, which would include cases that legalized same-sex marriage and contraception access.
“The resolution of this case is thus straightforward. Because the Due Process Clause does not secure any substantive rights, it does not secure a right to abortion…We should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”
Griswold v. Connecticut guarantees married couples’ rights to obtain contraception; Lawrence v. Texas legalized gay sexual activity; and Obergefell v. Hodges established marriage equality. In his opinion, Thomas asks whether the Court should redefine jurisprudence regarding the Due Process Clause, which very well could lead to cases overturning precedent protections.
Standing by her motorcycle, Letner explained why she was still drawn to celebrate Pride in the wake of the Supreme Court blow.
Letner told SFBay:
“I’m very excited for Pride. This is my 10-year anniversary with my motorcycle — I rode the Pride the year I bought her. I thought you know we’ve gone two years without celebrating Pride in San Francisco and what a great way to have my 10-year anniversary is to get in the bike again and ride with the Dykes on Bikes at the beginning of the parade – which is really is a great feeling when you ride down the street and everybody is just all smiles and waves.”