Fearful of what a Trump administration might do to marriage equality, many LGBT couples opted to tie the knot just as 2016 came to a close and President Obama was still in the White House, according to a slew of posts on the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation.
“Last week I married the love of my life,” Halle Doenitz posted on Jan. 1, along with a photo of herself and Jackie Berg outside of New York’s City Hall. (Doenitz and all others named in this article gave permission to Yahoo Style to use their photos and stories.) “Our wedding was planned for May 2017, but after the results of the election we decided we wanted to make it legal under our current forward-thinking administration (and it looks like we weren’t the only ones in this group with that idea). The wedding festivities in May will go on, but not before making this statement of love before President Obama leaves office.”
Also making sure their nuptials happened before President-elect Donald Trump takes over were couples in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York (where a pre-Trump group wedding is planned for Jan. 19), including a pair of women who posted a pic of themselves in matching pantsuits.
“My long time beautiful love, partner and now wife decided to marry in December of 2016 under the leadership of the president we love, Barack Obama,” they wrote. “Unfortunately because we chose to say ‘I do’ on something of a short timeframe (we fully expected HRC to be our next president) we did not have all of the family and friends we would have wanted to share our amazing day, but we fully expect to celebrate in the near future with them. Thank you Pantsuit Nation for all of the people that have been allowed to share their unique stories and keeping the hopes and dreams alive of an America that is always stronger together.”
The post received thousands of happy reactions and a flood of congratulatory wishes.
Stephen Mitchell and Greg Kirby of Georgia tied the knot on Dec. 27, with Mitchell posting a photo of themselves and noting, “We are convinced that more love will, in fact, make the world a better place.”
Tracey Walker and Ellie Frances of Michigan posted a photo of themselves in white wedding gowns with a handwritten sign in the background bearing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s famous Tony Awards quote: “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside.”
In the New Year’s Eve post, which has more than 18,000 reactions, Walker explained, “We used these words of inspiration as the centerpiece of the ceremony, and I’m choosing to believe them. It’s hard sometimes to remember we can’t be ‘swept aside,’ but please carry that with you into the new year: We’re stronger together, and will not be swept aside. Love will win. It won’t be easy, it’s been damn heartbreaking at times, but we will not be defeated. Lift each other up, and we will fill the world with music, love and pride.”
Walker told Yahoo Style that she and Frances were happy to be identified in this story. “Having a voice, and using it, is now more important than ever,” she said.
So just what could happen to marriage equality under Trump’s administration? First of all, it’s important to note that although the president-elect said on 60 Minutes after the election that he was “fine” with gay marriage, he has publicly opposed it since 2000. Trump also told Fox News in 2015 that he would “strongly consider” appointing justices who would overturn the decision to legalize same-sex marriage, and he chose anti-gay-marriage legislator Mike Pence as his running mate.
As far as SCOTUS overturning the 2015 ruling that made same-sex marriage the law of the land, it would be a long and difficult process that could come about in one of two ways: States themselves can amend the Constitution, requiring approval by three-fourths of all state legislators (how Prohibition was repealed in 1933), or the Supreme Court can overturn the original ruling if it ever finds itself revisiting the issue through a new case.
Not taking any chances, Amber Ybarra of Milwaukee posted several images of herself and her new wife, both wrapped in a celebratory rainbow sash, on Jan. 2.
“A little over 8 weeks ago, my world was turned upside-down,” she wrote, regarding the election of Trump — and her discovery that her own mom had voted for him. “I didn’t need her to explain why she voted for him because nothing she could say would help me to understand or accept her reason,” Ybarra went on. “But what I did know is that her casted vote was a clear indication that she did not support me.”
Still, Ybarra added, “I have so many people in my life that love me and support me and take me as I am. They fill my heart with hope and I am grateful everyday that I have them in my life. But most of all, I am thankful everyday that I have my wife. Yes, she is now my wife and I am happy to report that we tied the knot today… As much as we wanted everyone there with us today, we knew we couldn’t risk waiting until October when we intended to get married. We plan to have a formal ceremony in the fall that will allow many more of our closest friends and family to attend and re-celebrate with us. But for now, we are continuing our adventure together and we take comfort in knowing that we are in this together and are doing our part to make this world a little bit brighter than it was the day before.”
Finally, there was Sean Winterhalter of Pennsylvania, who posted about his marriage to Lee Winterhalter.
“After 11 years of being together we tied the knot in a private ceremony, just the two of us, in our home on Christmas Eve. Our wedding was planned for Jan 14th 2017, but could not risk being married so close to a ‘Trump America,’” he wrote. “We have had an amazing outpouring of love and support from our friends and family and we will continue to stand up for love. Love is love, love will win, love trumps hate.”