In July, a bill designed to protect same-sex marriages passed the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support. Forty-seven Republicans joined House Democrats in passing the Respect for Marriage Act. Shortly thereafter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he was working to drum up sufficient Republican support in the Senate to pass the bill.

Following weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Schumer announced in mid-September that the vote would be delayed until after the midterm elections.

To make sense of what is happening with marriage equality, we put together a two-part podcast series, featuring conversations with policymakers, experts, and advocates.

In part one of this series, Rockefeller Institute Fellow Heather Trela, Senior Policy Analyst Leigh Wedenoja, and Pride Center of the Capital Region Executive Director Nate Gray answer questions like: If the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 to legalize marriage equality nationwide, why is there now a renewed push for legislating this issue? What is the legislative and judicial history of marriage equality and how does that inform the provisions in the Respect for Marriage Act? And how is the recent uncertainty surrounding marriage equality affecting members of the LGBTQ+ community?

In part two, we draw some political parallels to the current moment with a look back at the push for marriage equality in New York in 2011. To understand the political calculations and consequences of a Republican “yes” vote on this issue, Rockefeller Institute President Bob Megna talks with Senator Steve Saland, one of four Republican senators who crossed the aisle to say “aye” to the Marriage Equality Act.


Heather Trela, director of operations and fellow, Rockefeller Institute of Government

Leigh Wedenoja, senior policy analyst, Rockefeller Institute of Government

Nathaniel Gray, executive director, Pride Center of the Capital Region

Listen to Part II

  • Transcript

    Transcript was generated using AI software and may contain errors.

    Alexander Morse 00:04

    Welcome to Policy Outsider presented by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. I’m Alex Morse. In July 2022, the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill designed to protect same sex marriages passed the US House of Representatives with bipartisan support. 47 Republicans joined House Democrats in passing the bill. Shortly thereafter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he was working to drum up sufficient Republican support in the Senate to pass the app. Following weeks of behind the scenes negotiations, Schumer announced in mid September that the vote would be delayed until after the midterm elections. To make sense of what is happening with marriage equality, we put together a two part podcast series featuring several conversations with policymakers, experts and advocates. Over the next two episodes, we’ll work to answer a number of questions like if the US Supreme Court ruled in 2015 to legalize marriage equality nationwide. Why is there now a renewed push for legislating this issue? What is in the Respect for Marriage Act that has moved through the house and it’s working its way through the Senate? And what exactly does it guarantee? For the first episode, we invite Heather Trela Fellow at the Rockefeller Institute to discuss the Respect for Marriage Act and how a concurring opinion in the US Supreme Court case that overturned Roe versus Wade prompted the renewed push for marriage equality. Well then talk to Nate Gray, Executive Director of the Pride Center of the capital region about marriage equality and what it means for the members of the LGBTQ plus community. In part two, we draw some political parallels where they look back at the push for marriage equality in New York in 2011. To understand the political calculations and consequences of a Republican yes vote on this issue. We talked to former state senator Steve Saland, one of four Republican senators who crossed the aisle to vote yes for the marriage equality act coming up next. Heather, welcome to the podcast.

    Heather Trela 02:19

    Hi, Alex. Thanks for having me.

    Alexander Morse 02:20

    So we brought you on here today to talk about the United States Supreme Court and the recent decision making in June 2022, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the dobs vers Jackson women’s health organization that the United States Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, overturning the 1973 landmark case, Roe vs. Wade. And now this means states have the full authority to regulate abortion that’s not preempted by federal law. Of no Justice Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion, suggested that all decisions determined by due process, such as Roe versus Wade should be revisited. In fact, Justice Thomas, specifically named among other cases, Obergefell versus Hodges, the 2015 decision that provided protections for marriage quality. This led to an outcry among Civil Rights Advocates suggesting Obergefell and other civil rights cases may be under threat of reversal. And so for our conversation, let’s cover the context surrounding Obergefell. And what Congress is doing in response to ensure federal protections for marriage equality. So to begin, what are the marriage equality protections that are provided by Obergefell versus Hodges?

    Heather Trela 03:33

    So Obergefell versus Hodges was a landmark Supreme Court decision that established the right to marry is a fundamental Liberty protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, and that it applies to same sex couples as well as couples of the opposite gender. As a result of this ruling, states would have to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, and would have to recognize marriages from couples in other states. This partnered with the US states versus Windsor decision in 2013, effectively voided the defensive Marriage Act.

    Alexander Morse 04:06

    So you mentioned the Defense of Marriage Act. I think that’s an actual segue into what is the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Heather Trela 04:12

    So to get to the Defense of Marriage Act, I probably should go back to the road that led to the Defense of Marriage Act. In 1993. There was a court case in the state of Hawaii bear versus Lewin that was challenging the denial of marriage licenses to same sex couples. The court in Hawaii found that based on the state’s constitutional Equal Rights Amendment, prohibition of same sex marriage qualified a sex discrimination was subject to strict scrutiny. strict scrutiny means the government has to have a really good reason for why they’re denying this right. It can’t be just a close to or somewhat like related reason they have to have it’s the highest scrutiny you can give to a state actor to have to prove why they’re doing what they’re doing. So this set the court case by knocked down to the lower courts for the state of Hawaii to make their argument, why were they dying same sex couples this opportunity to wed this freaked everybody out, because it looked like the state of Hawaii might be the first state to allow same sex marriage. And there’s something in the Constitution called the Full Faith and Credit Clause. And the fear was if one state allowed same sex marriage, and marriage equality, every state would have to recognize that marriage under full faith and credit. Now 1980, that was an identity three that court case, marriage equality did not enjoy the same public support that it does today. Back at that time, I’d say it was probably around 65% of Americans were against recognizing marriage equality. So Congress, both the House and the Senate, passed what was called the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Defensive marriage acted to prime things. First thing it did was it established that federal definition of marriage only between a man and woman, effectively the federal government would not recognize any same sex unions as a valid marriage for a variety of benefits, whether that be social security benefits, or being able to make deductions on taxes. So that was part one. Part two of the Defense of Marriage Act, said that states were not required to recognize same sex marriages from other states. And they were not required to issue marriage licenses. So if a person was married in New York, under the defensive Marriage Act, that union would not have to be recognized in Kentucky, for example, that can

    Alexander Morse 06:38

    have some pretty far reaching policy implications or consequences.

    Heather Trela 06:42

    Absolutely. That can other than the obvious symbolic and recognition of a union. It can completely dispel person’s rights to access to a bunch of rights, and it makes it very patchwork right? You don’t know where your marriage is legal, depending where you move, it could completely disrupt someone’s life.

    Alexander Morse 07:01

    Now 1996 That was President Bill Clinton, right? He was in office, then you would think Democrat might want to support marriage equality. But he signed this into legislation

    Heather Trela 07:13

    he did. Now again, it was a different time. And one important thing to put an asterix so this is 1996 was an election year. So as I said, this was not a politically popular idea to give recognition to same sex marriages. President Clinton was also facing a veto proof passage of this bill, which means even if he didn’t sign it, it could have been overwritten.

    Alexander Morse 07:36

    Okay, so then the Defense of Marriage Act has been in existence since 1996. Leading up to it was the 2013 case, what was Windsor,

    Heather Trela 07:45

    US versus Windsor was the first step got rid of part one that got rid of the federal definition? And then Obergefell got rid of the second part.

    Alexander Morse 07:53

    Alright, so then there’s been marriage equality protections throughout the United States since 2015. But now that we’ve as we’ve said, up top, the Roe versus Wade decision might put Obergefell versus Hodges, under threat of reversal.

    Heather Trela 08:10

    Yes, nothing has happened yet. That’s important to note. However, Clarence Thomas did what a lot of justices have done in the past, in his concurring opinion, he set out kind of bread crumbs or a signal of court cases that potentially they would like to hear in the future, the Supreme Court cannot pick what it hears it can only hear cases that are brought to it. But by highlighting those three cases, in particular, Obergefell, Griswold versus Connecticut, which deals with the right to contraceptive access, and Lawrence v. Texas, which deals with same sex intimacy, those are cases that potentially the court would be interested in hearing a challenge to.

    Alexander Morse 08:47

    With respect to Obergefell versus Hodges. Congress recently introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, what would that act do?

    Heather Trela 08:55

    the Respect for Marriage Act would basically take defensive Marriage Act off the books, it would get rid of it completely. And it would establish that for federal rights and benefits, marriage equality would rule that definition of marriage would include all couples, and then it would not force any state to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, but it would force and enforce the Full Faith and Credit Clause so that states would have to recognize marriages from other states, even if they did not give licenses to those couples in their state.

    Alexander Morse 09:31

    And so as we record, it’s about a month before the November general election, what is the current state of the Respect for Marriage Act?

    Heather Trela 09:38

    So the Respect for Marriage Act has passed the House of Representatives, bipartisan, there was some Republican support for this as well. It’s important to mention as well that the defensive Marriage Act is not limited to marriage equality for same sex couples. There’s also protections for interracial couples, based on Supreme Court case Loving versus Virginia was not referenced in the concurring appeal. The input could fall under the same due process concerns. The Marriage Act has now gone to the Senate. Originally they were supposed to hold a vote in September that has been delayed until after the election. It’s important to note that for this to pass, they will need Republicans to cross the aisle, they don’t get 10. Republicans, the filibuster would prevent this from being considered

    Alexander Morse 10:22

    right, that 60 vote threshold is a pretty big barrier for any legislation to get passed, especially in today’s political climate.

    Heather Trela 10:29

    Yes, it’s what’s doomed previous protections that contraception and the right to abortion access were both tried to be legislatively protected, and both failed in in the Senate because of the filibuster.

    Alexander Morse 10:39

    Okay, then. So for my last question, I have three scenarios for you. What happens if the Respect for Marriage Act passes, the ACT fails, but the Supreme Court case Obergefell remains in place, or the Respect for Marriage Act fails and Obergefell is overturned?

    Heather Trela 10:59

    Your first scenario is Respect for Marriage Act passes, what that would do is give a little bit extra security to couples. So if anything should change in the future, they won’t have the same level of protection as they did under Obergefell. But there will be protections for the federal definition of marriage, and states having to recognize their marriage. If respective Marriage Act fails, and Obergefell is not challenged, or is reaffirmed status quo rates, marriage equality will still be the law of land, and couples can enjoy the same protections that they’ve had since 2015. So the third scenario you outlined, if the Respect for Marriage Act does not pass and Obergefell is overturned, would probably be the most dire for marriage equality, the Defense of Marriage Act DOMA would become the default law of the land, which would mean the federal definition of marriage would revert to excluding same sex couples and states would not have to issue marriage licenses and would not have to recognize marriage licenses from other states. An unintended consequence of this is that many states have not taken old laws off the books that would prohibit marriage equality. The only state that repealed a constitutional amendment that banned same sex marriage was Nevada. And they did that after Obergefell all the other states, I think there’s only 15 that have currently enshrined either by court or legislative or in their constitution protections for same sex couples that will leave 35 states that could prohibit same sex marriage. Now this would probably be the same thing as abortion, right, we’re seeing the same thing happening after the dabbs decision, states are dusting off old laws, they typically wind up going to the courts. So it doesn’t mean it would definitively results. Marriage equality not being recognized, but it was certainly muddy the waters and make things more complicated for a while. In some states, obviously, the constitutional process takes time to reverse. In New York, for example, you have to pass legislation through two legislative cycles, and then it goes to the people now New York already has protected marriage equality. But changing a state constitution is a little prohibitive. So it may take time for states to catch up to where public opinion is if they would like to do so.

    Alexander Morse 13:25

    Heather, thank you for joining us today to provide some context around the civil rights cases the Supreme Court decision and how that might impact policy moving forward and what Congress is doing at the federal level to provide marriage equality protections

    Heather Trela 13:37

    Happy to be here.

    Alexander Morse 13:41

    Many thanks to Heather Trela for providing context surrounding the current legislative push for marriage equality in the United States. Next up, we have guest hosts, Li Wen and Alia, senior policy analyst at the Rockefeller Institute, who will be joined by Nate Gray, Executive Director of the Pride Center of the capitol region, to discuss marriage equality and what it means to the members of the LGBTQ plus community.

    Leigh Wedenoja 14:08

    So Nate, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about your background, how you ended up in your current position and what you do with the Pride Center?

    Nate Gray 14:16

    Like so many stories do it starts in southern Ohio? No, so I was I was raised in southern Ohio. The reason I bring that up is because both my parents are our Marines. My brother’s a Marine, and that had such a framing for me as someone who eventually moved to New York City, became a drag queen in New York City. You know, loves the whole queer community in New York City, got married in the area where the pride parades began because that’s where Stonewall happened. Really, the transition from being that kid in that small town and to being the person in in New York City that I became, has a lot to do with why I advocate for what I advocate for so so I’m So I was raised in southern Ohio moved to the city and studied theater love to doing that did theater in this in the city for a long time was actually a, like I said, a full time drag queen that was a lot of fun and and actually was maybe the beginning of my outward like policy advocacy because I had a lot of respect for the history of drag around around the ability, that that drag queens sort of used the anonymity to advocate,

    Leigh Wedenoja 15:27

    there was a long civil rights fight just to be able to dress in something non stereotypical to your gender before we even got to marriage equality.

    Nate Gray 15:35

    Absolutely. You know, and there’s those having those, the ability to exact those freedoms to speak up that that’s something that that’s not lost on our community, we’re very aware of it. So did all of that and sort of knew doing all of that I was always drawn when I was doing theater to things. I loved doing cabaret, that was a big professional production I got to do once and I just thought, gosh, the the opportunity to talk about the history of the Holocaust in this con in this context, in this in this medium is so fascinating. And I realized, throughout all of my work, I really wanted to do things that impacted people and got them thinking. And so over time knew I wanted to study something else, I got my master’s degree in social work, assuming at that time that I would go into sort of direct practice, I was very impacted by my own childhood as a as a an effeminate LGBTQ kid. And I thought that that’s where I would, I would head I would just work with families who had effeminate LGBTQ kids, and then knew after a few months that that wasn’t for me, I’m constantly impressed by the people who can hold the trauma that exists out there every day that most of us don’t see or know, after a few months of of holding that trauma that I realized that was not something that was in my wheelhouse, but I knew I wanted to address the changes that could be impacted that would limit future trauma. That was my goal.

    Leigh Wedenoja 17:02

    So is that what brought you to the Empire State Fellows Program?

    Nate Gray 17:05

    Absolutely. So that’s exactly where, where we have a timeline i, they happened to create a fellowship within the Empire’s program that was focused on LGBTQ policy, named after some incredible champions in the community, you know, Marsha P. Johnson, Edie Windsor, Sylvia Rivera, and I was very grateful to be one of the two folks selected for that. And because of my background in work with primarily homeless and marginally housed LGBTQ youth, I was placed at the Office of Children and Family Services. And that was the beginning of my government work of starting to see this less as the direct interaction that both I experienced as a kid and other folks experience and more that way policies impact these people, and then beginning to help shape some of those. There’s so much more work to be done, because, you know, it’s its implementation. And we all know the wonky side of policy is implementation, like, yes, let’s pass it. And then like, how do we do it? And what’s interesting is there are these social policies like we won’t discriminate against you because of your gender. And yet, no one says, How do we do it?

    Leigh Wedenoja 18:16

    But one of the policies was marriage equality, and the passage of marriage equality in New York. I know this was a fairly foundational thing in my young adulthood, because it happened right after I moved to New York. And I moved here from Michigan, a place that in 2004, had amended the state constitution to forbid both marriage between two people at the same gender and any form of civil union. So coming to New York, which was having a much different kind of moment, was really interesting. Can you talk a little bit about the experience with marriage equality being sort of legally enshrined in New York?

    Nate Gray 18:56

    Sure. I think what I can offer first is I’ve had, I’ve had a lot of conversations around why that specific thing, right, there are so many other things that are still an issue, you know, in the country right now. And I’m sure we’ll get to these conversations around the Equality Act of stuff. But in the country right now, in some states, if you say, Hey, I’d like to rent this apartment, your landlord potential landlord could say, but are you transgender? You look transgender, and so no. And that’s fully within their legal rights, right? So, so why marriage equality became such a big deal. And what I often think about is, in society, there are these there are these foundational units that are so critical to how society functions. And when we write policy, we think about these units when you write tax code. You ask yourself, if someone’s single if they’re married, if they’re married, do they have children? If they’re single, do they have children if they write and or are they someone else’s children, they take care of their parents. All of these ways in which units are created. And what I found as a child is I don’t get to make one, everyone else gets to like, forge on ahead and create a new one. And that’s not what I’m gonna get, because I can’t marry a person, like, I can create a roommate situation like all of us are old jokes, you know, like, this is so and so’s roommate. And so the reason that’s why I think it’s so important is is at an integral levels, a human being felt like I couldn’t contribute to society, you know, because of the way we’re raised to believe. And so then the fight happens, right? The fight happens and all of these different state levels, truly, I’ve never believed I would see it in my lifetime, it was not something I believed, would occur. And it was before I knew as much as I know now about how policies form I had assumed it would have to be a law, right, I assumed it would have to go through the House, the Senate and be signed, interesting, I never once thought to myself, Oh, well, this will just be something that goes to the Supreme Court. And we’ll get it that way. I will just as a timely message, say, in almost all of the training that I did, that I developed over the last six years, I when I talked about why those kinds of big public messages matter, because that that public visibility teaches us that we matter as human beings, there’s a reason our suicide rate is so much higher than everyone else’s, you know, LGBTQ kids are three to five times more likely to die because they want to wow, you know that,

    Leigh Wedenoja 21:28

    that is a much more striking statistic than I think a lot of people now they

    Nate Gray 21:31

    want to, and what I often say to adults is who’s to blame, but everybody, it’s all of us. It’s the society we’ve created. This is what it is we’ve built this society. And the one we made, we raised children who three to five times more likely to die by their own hand. So we have to look at those big visible societal factors. Marriage equality was one of those things. And the only reason I’m I’m bringing all this up in the timeliness factor is because Roe v. Wade was something I tethered marriage equality to both in my own sort of emotional core. I’ll never lose my right to be married. Roe v. Wade exists. That’s not going anywhere. trained on that. I would tell folks, this is why policy matters so much because of this, because but look at Roe v. Wade.

    Leigh Wedenoja 22:20

    So that brings up an interesting sort of policy proposition that we have right now because of course, there has not been a Supreme Court decision that overturns Obergefell. Right. But in that concurring opinion, there was this door open for the possibility that other kinds of Supreme Court decisions could be revisited. And they’re not being revisited yet. But a number of states and the federal government is trying to take some precautions. And New York is in a better position than a lot of states in that we have a law in training marriage equality. However, we do not have a constitutional guarantee of marriage equality in New York. There are other states that have trigger laws where if Obergefell is overturned, they will immediately outlaw marriages that are not between a an assigned female at birth and assigned male at birth person. And there are states that have a constitutional enshrinement against marriage equality. For instance, my home state of Michigan Hey, it’s Lee here to correct myself. I use the term trigger law incorrectly when I said that some states have trigger laws that will immediately outlawed marriages that are not between assigned male and assigned female persons. If Obergefell is overturned, that’s not exactly true. So trigger laws are unenforceable laws passed by legislative bodies that take effect when certain circumstances are met. For example, while Roe versus Wade that decision was still in effect, several states passed abortion trigger laws that will go into effect once the DOPPS V Jackson decision overturned Roe vs. Wade. In terms of marriage equality, several states have dormant laws restricting marriage that existed before Obergefell and were enforced at that time, and are currently preempted by federal law and as such unenforceable if Obergefell were to be overturned, these dormant laws would then come back into being enforceable provided that the Respect for Marriage Act is not passed and signed into law. All right, back to the conversation. What is it like right now to be an advocate in this sort of situation in which we might see some very strong changes in what we can expect living in one state versus another?

    Nate Gray 24:42

    What so the first thing that comes to mind is and something that I think I know, I felt many times also growing up right in a Midwestern swing states were what once was a swing state, Ohio is a sense of hopelessness and and powerlessness in in New York like, well, I know that everyone assigned female at birth will have access to abortion in the state of New York. So I’m good. But I can’t help anybody else or similarly. Okay, we’ve passed it here in the state of New York for me to get married. But I can’t help anybody else. And so the reason I’m bringing up that framing is because sometimes it can begin to feel like a I’m powerless to affect that change, but also be maybe those other state laws don’t impact me so much, or us so much. So you know, what I would, I would say is, to your point. There are attorneys general in some very wild states right now that I think would be salivating about the idea of, I don’t know someone whose state worker whose man whose husband who lives in Buffalo, and whose husband lives in Ohio, and they share benefits.

    Leigh Wedenoja 26:06

    Oh, interesting. Right. So that’s, that actually sets up why the federal government and why the Senate is potentially holding a vote on the Respect for Marriage Act, would be to help people maintain those benefits.

    Nate Gray 26:19

    But share benefits is like a is like a is a simple one, like, Okay, we’ll just move further into the state. We got a divorce, but we’re both legally this child’s parent. But one of us moved into a state that doesn’t believe our marriage exists. Custody, Family Court, right.

    Leigh Wedenoja 26:40

    I think that’s a piece of this that people generally don’t think about is that there are there are practicalities involved in marriages that just contract are true of all marriages,

    Nate Gray 26:51

    legal contracts. And so I always think about it that way. Like, imagine if you said, Well, if you have contracts with people named Alex in the state of New York, that’s fine. But once you cross over into Pennsylvania, Alex doesn’t exist to us anymore. So that contract doesn’t exist, or am I legally beholden to it? Where does the law fall? And that’s where this all always comes down? It’s like, that’s why civil rights matter so much is we have to know what the law is protecting us from? It’s a very fascinating sort of conundrum. They just don’t think we exist.

    Leigh Wedenoja 27:23

    Yes. And it is, we do like to think of New York as this particularly LGBTQ progressive space. And somewhere that enshrined marriage equality more than a decade ago, yeah. But even more than a decade ago, it was a pretty hard fight. And there were not a lot of people from one of the political parties who ended up voting in favor of marriage equality. And there were substantial political fights about exactly how the law should, how the law should be written, what it should cover. And I think we don’t think about that part of it that there was substantial pushback, there were a number of people who did not see it as enshrining a human right, but as an attack on their way of life. Whatever that means. So and I feel like we are none of us are sitting in the Senate chambers right now. But I would assume they’re having some of those same political fights back and forth.

    Nate Gray 28:25

    Yes, I think that there’s this very bizarre discourse, I would say that’s, that’s what it is really. And after having worked in the state for enough time, and also now being the IDI of a nonprofit that has a region, you know, we’re not just like on the block of Hudson and mark, but we oversee 10 counties, I’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on everywhere.

    Leigh Wedenoja 28:48

    One thing we haven’t talked about yet is what do you guys do day to day at the Pride Center? How are you sort of reacting? Yeah, I mean, because you’re both reacting to this sort of uptick in potential policy related to marriage equality, but you do a lot of other stuff.

    Nate Gray 29:06

    Yeah, this is where, you know, I as a social worker, and one of the things that I love about this field is that you have to think macro, micro, you have to be aware that there’s a law that gets made, and that law impacts a specific person in their daily life. And so what we do at the Pride Center, is is what I tried to do with the Pride Center is be aware of both of those things as much as possible. And, and so as first and foremost, I have to give all credit to the Pride Center itself. It’s the longest continually operating Pride Center in the country. Wow, is 52 years old. And it was created the year after Stonewall happened, as many presenters were. It was born at a time when we had no place to comment They exist, where, as you said earlier, it was against the law. It was publicly indecent to be touching the hand of another man in public because that’s not okay. So the Pride Center of maybe was the only place in 1973 in Albany off of large street where you could just go be happy. And that’s, that’s one side thing that I want to point out with all of the marriage equality debate, all of the policy equality debate, is that we often get debased to sex. I think the AIDS crisis did a fair job of helping that. But people think about marriage equality, and with LGBTQ folks, it’s about sex. But if they’re 21 year old gets proposed to they’re thinking about, Oh, my god the rest of your life, and I’m gonna have grandkids and we’re gonna plan a wedding and you’re in love, right? Yes, we permit more than just debasing intersex. And so, I what we do at the Pride Center on a on a day to day is really focused on the fact that there is this there’s this macro issue of visibility that’s something I’m I’ve, I’ve been in the news several times lately about monkey pox. I have written a few things about that. We’re constantly sort of focused on that but then also, and I say this, often we are 10% of the human experience, statistically speaking, that’s sort of what what what it shakes out to be. So I we have to provide a lot of one on one therapy to a lot of LGBTQ plus people because of mental health issues. Unfortunately, depression, anxiety, suicide is very high. The the work that we do on the on the street to make sure LGBTQ kids are feeling safe, is really very much tethered to the big, lofty, academic policy conversations. Yes, and in other circles.

    Leigh Wedenoja 31:55

    Well, thank you so much.

    Alexander Morse 32:03

    Thanks to Heather Trela, Nate gray and Leigh Wedenoja, for outlining how we got to this moment in the push for marriage equality and sharing what is at stake for the members of the LGBTQ plus community. Stay tuned for part two featuring a conversation between Rockefeller Institute President Bob Magna and former Republican state senator Stephen Saland on the political and ethical considerations at play in the senators affirmative vote for the 2011 Marriage Equality Act. Did you like this episode, please rate, subscribe and share it will help others find the podcast and help us deliver the latest in Public Policy Research. All of our episodes are available for free wherever you stream your podcasts. Transcript are also available on our website. Special thanks to Rockefeller Institute staff, Joel Tirado, Laura Rabinow, and Laura Schultz for their contributions to this episode. Thanks for listening. I’m Alex Morse, until next time. Policy outsider is presented by the Rockefeller Institute and government the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The institute conducts cutting edge nonpartisan public policy research and analysis to inform lasting solutions to the challenges facing New York state and the nation. Learn more at or by following at Rockefellerinst. That’s Rockefeller i n s t on social media. Have a question comment or idea? Email us at [email protected].

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