Our wedding was supposed to be in March, but we decided we couldn’t wait that long.
We got married last month because we firmly believe a Donald Trump presidency is a threat to our basic right to marry.
I’m a social justice advocate, amplifying the voices of people living with and affected by HIV. My new husband is a naval officer with a decade of service, driven by a profound commitment to country.
We remember the proud day when President Obama signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and gave my fiancé the right to serve his country openly as a gay man. Our tears ran rainbow the day love trumped hate, and the U.S. Supreme Court finally declared that “equality for all” meant us too.
This summer, we were devastated by the murders of our brothers and sisters in the tragic Orlando massacre. We are getting married because our flag is proud; it is ragged and rainbow, bloodied and torn. But we cling to its threads, to its promise, to its solace and its union.
We got married to bring attention to the very real threat that Donald Trump’s presidency represents to so many segments of American society. We are fearful that our rights will be taken away with the stroke of a pen. From his right to protect and serve openly, to our right to file a joint tax return.
We are not going to be misled by headlines calling Trump the “most LGBT-friendly Republican.” That, unfortunately, is not reality.
Trump would have us believe that he supports the rights of LGBTQ people, yet insists on defining marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman. Being opposed to gay marriage is not LGBT friendly. We should be treated equally. And Trump’s comments in a recent “60 Minutes” interview showed that he does not understand that the very recent and tender progress on gay marriage due to Obergefell v. Hodges could be undone by whom he nominates to the Supreme Court.
Our rights aren’t up for negotiation. He chose a running mate with a track record of anti-LGBTQ policies, including the use of public funding for so-called “conversion therapy” and a “religious-freedom” bill that was nothing but thinly veiled legalization of LGBTQ discrimination. With his words and actions, Trump has made it abundantly clear that he does not respect us or our community.
Aligned with a Republican-led Congress and a potentially conservative-stacked Supreme Court, President Trump will be without checks or balances. Executive orders, legislation, and court rulings could chip away at the rights that we’ve fought so hard to secure. My fiancé and I feel that we can no longer afford to wait until March. Our commitment is real, and our pledge to each other should not be a time-sensitive matter. But it is.
Trump has built a populist coalition founded on divisive words that toss aside those who don’t match his narrow and shortsighted view of America.
We celebrated our wedding with friends and family, but we will not be married among them. Instead, our marriage bears witness to the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. We stand in solidarity with women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants, saints, and sinners. One man’s warped values do not represent who we are. We are still stronger together.
Cody Barnett and his husband Chris are D.C. residents who were married last month.