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On November 6, Show Brett Kavanaugh He Didn't Win

Brett Kavanaugh’s hearings  may be over, but the fight for our rights

Kavanaugh's hearings may be over, but the fight for our rights cannot be.

Despite a wave of nationwide protests and demonstrations, Brett Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court. Though Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings were mired in concerns about his judicial temperament and accusations of sexual misconduct from several women, his ultimate confirmation will change the ideological makeup of the Court for years to come. This has ignited the very real concern that LGBTQ and other marginalized communities' fundamental rights and protections are at risk. But our dismay cannot be the end of the fight--it's an opportunity for activists to look to other areas of government that are ripe for significant improvement and progress.

As the nation's highest authority, the Supreme Court's fundamental responsibility is to provide a fair and impartial interpretation of the law to help us build the nation that we envision: one where our democracy is made stronger because all people have their constitutional freedoms and human rights acknowledged, protected and enforced. But as we try to live up to the ideals of a more perfect union, we must acknowledge that even our most powerful court is not always a consistent agent of progress.

Additionally, both Congress and the White House have repeatedly taken actions that undermine the freedom and protections that activists fought long and hard for; now, it seems that yet another branch of our federal government is poised to make changes that would limit, rather than expand, those rights. But the most important thing to remember is that we, the people, determine what happens next.

The danger we now find ourselves in reminds us that we can't count on federal protections to be with us forever -- and in response, we must ensure that state and local lawmakers step up. In 2011, New York stood out as a beacon of progress by passing the Marriage Equality Act, four years before the federal court ruled in favor of marriage equality nationwide. If states like New York take the lead once again and enshrine basic rights that LGBTQ and other marginalized communities deserve into law, like the freedom to access safe and affirming health services or the protection from discrimination, we would safeguard the most vulnerable among us, shielding them from potential changes by the Supreme Court. That means taking immediate action to hold lawmakers accountable for strengthening state laws that have fallen by the wayside for far too long.

From energized voters ready for the upcoming midterm elections, to organizations working tirelessly to advance progressive policy ideas, we can all play a part. Here at The Center, the increased threats to LGBTQ people strengthen our resolve in our advocacy work, through our statewide initiative, RiseOut. Along with dozens of LGBTQ organizations and individuals across the state, we've developed The People's Platform to fight for laws that support and protect LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. This includes legislation to bring New York's reproductive rights laws up to date and making sure candidates and elected officials prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities.

The federal attacks against basic freedoms for all people are not a cause for continued despair, but a call to action. We still have the power to make change, and devoting our energies toward advocacy at the state level will help us succeed in our fight for justice and equity. With each new attempt that threatens to turn back the hands of time, we will find other ways to push for progress until our democracy and our country are better than before.

For more information on how to get involved in New York State, visit gaycenter.org/advocacy or text RiseOut to 69866. Also visit Equality Federation and learn how various organizations are advancing legal protections for the LGBTQ community in all states.

GLENNDA TESTONE is the executive director of The Center, New York City's LGBTQ community center. Follow Testone on Twitter @Glennda_Testone.

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