Back in the early 2000s I was president of the Business Alliance of Los Angeles, it was the first gay and lesbian business networking group in the city. We were having dinner at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City and I recall we were talking about the future of gay rights and what it would mean for our community. We were blessed to have Ivy Bottini with us that night. She was a long time feminist, lesbian and all around rabble rouser. I loved her. She was great.

Ivy was not sold on the idea that gay marriage was a good thing for our community. She felt it might lead to too much assimilation – that the community would lose its character and the things that made us great as a community. At the time I thought, now that’s an interesting perspective, and being the pro-marriage guy I am, I found myself having to think about it.

We’re now 20 years down the road from that late dinner discussion, gay marriage has become a reality, gays are very assimilated in most parts of our country and with each passing generation there is less stigma, more acceptance, and that’s a good thing. 

It does come at a cost though, Ivy was right about a few things.

Lesbian and Gay bars are fading into the sunset. Each year there are fewer and fewer of them. The status of “gay outsider” and rebel is not as prevalent today. I’m not convinced that’s a good thing for our community or the wider society as a whole. It seems to me that much good art, literature and consciousness raising happened as a result of having to push back against a heteronormative society. Writers pushed limits, artists created pieces that caused discussions and the gay community felt more cohesive and engaged. Having those rooms to retreat to, where we were “us” versus the “them” of a heterosexual majority, brought connection to each other.

In some ways the community felt stronger when we had some oppression to fight against. Wins meant something.

Do I want to go back to the days of police raids and people being fired for their sexuality? Certainly not. But I do want to take a look at what we’ve lost, and what we’ve gained, as the battles have changed.

One of the things that Ivy was acutely aware of losing was our uniqueness. Gays and Lesbians bring a sensitivity, an awareness to life and relationships that is uniquely ours because we are different, not wrong, not bad, not evil, but different.

I write all this today against a backdrop of a Supreme Court decision that overturns a federal right for women to have access to abortion. I do not agree with the position that abortion should be illegal. I think personal autonomy means just that, a person gets to do with their body as they choose. It’s why I also support legalized prostitution – seems like a no brainer to me, especially as a divorce lawyer where spousal support is often cast as a benefit due for past services rendered. Is it really all that different? But I digress.

In considering the impact of the Dobbs ruling, as a thought experiment I am wondering if there is a way that this could actually be good in the long run for women and women’s health. Pre-Dobbs, access to abortions was being incrementally reduced in many states, and as a consequence there was not a very motivated electorate to do anything, since ‘ROE still stood’. Now though, with each state having the right and opportunity to address the issue, is it possible that a more motivated, more agitated, more concerned group of community activists could increase access in those states where it was being methodically reduced? I know at first that seems like an absurd idea, but follow me here. California is not making it harder to get an abortion, in fact it seems highly possible that it will be put into our Constitution. In Texas or Missouri, where reductions to access were happening regularly, could an agitated group of voters actually stem the tide and reverse it, so that access is increased? Yes, that’s possible, because now they have a clear opposition and goal to strive for.

Is the Dobbs decision bad in the short term? Seems so. Could it be good in the long run? Seems possible.

Does Dobbs open the door to reversing Gay Marriage, possibly, and I imagine that Justice Thomas would like to see it happen. Do I see someone trying, yes, but not as much as the reversal of abortion. You can’t erode the marriage right the same way they did with abortion. If you say that Gay Marriage is not an enumerated right in the U.S. Constitution, then you can’t say Straight Marriage is, and then to turn it all back to the states to allow each one to determine marriage rights opens the door to anti-miscegenation cases, and that might mean that Justice Thomas and his wife Ginni would be unlawfully married, and I daresay that wont happen.

Rarely is something in the law an unadulterated good or bad thing, sometimes having an opponent can make for progress in ways previously unconsidered.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments.  He can be reached at or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra