Hollywood Exec Rushes to Altar Over Fears Donald Trump Presidency Could Threaten LGBT Rights

Women in Film executive director Kirsten Schaffer tells THR about her rushed nuptials: "We're doing this for our children. And focusing, as a family, on love and kindness."
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Donald Trump's controversial campaign — one that eventually landed the Republican in the White House with a shocking win on Nov. 8 over Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton — contained not-so-veiled threats against many minority groups, including Muslims and Latinos. And while Trump never came out against the LGBT community, some aren't taking their chances. 

Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of notable Hollywood nonprofit Women in Film, who had previously served in a similar position with local LGBT org Outfest, revealed in a Facebook post that her partner of 16 years, music industry professional Linda Kennedy, had asked to marry her in the wake of this week's election results. In the post, which has received nearly 500 likes, Schaffer recounted their conversation about picking a date, adding, "16 years, 2 kids, 3 dogs, so much love (and some fear). #modernmarriage #queermarriage #afraidofhim."

One of her friends, an actress-writer-producer named Dalila Ali Rajah, revealed she and her partner shared the same emotions. "We are talking about moving up our legal hitch date too," Rajah wrote in support. And they're not alone. The New York Times today covered the "alarms" currently going off in LGBT communities across the country. 

Reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, Schaffer explained that she and Kennedy have been together nearly 17 years and, while they had been discussing marriage, the plan was expedited due to the election results. "Obviously there have been a lot of ups and downs in LGBT rights over the years, and we didn't get married at a couple of other times when our friends did," said Schaffer, who admits that marriage has never been high on her priority list due to fundamental views on the separation of church and state. "We were holding out but the fear set in around 9 p.m. on Tuesday night."

Schaffer continued: "We live in California, so we know that we are really protected with our domestic partnership, but there's a chance that it won't be protected outside the state. If it does change, it won't change for years, so I know that it is fear-based and irrational, but we want to do it now before Obama is out of office." 

Trump has yet to outline what his first orders of business will be. However, he made it clear throughout the election that the Supreme Court's vacant seat is a priority and many expect him to select a social conservative, giving way to a conservative majority on the bench. That in itself has LGBT activists nervous. And while some may see Schaffer's decision could be seen as a rush to judgment over an administration that is still 70 days away from assuming office, the Human Rights Campaign also didn't waste any time in releasing a statement about Trump and Pence and the uncertainty that lies ahead.

“Over the last 18 months, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have intentionally sowed fear and division for cynical political purposes. They now face a decision about whether they will also govern that way. We hope, for the sake of our nation and our diverse community — which includes women, people of color, those with disabilities, immigrants, and people of all faiths and traditions — they will choose a different path," the HRC said in a statement on Nov. 9. "For our part, HRC will continue our fight for equality and justice for all with greater urgency and determination than ever before. We must. Lives literally depend on it.

The statement continues: “The defeats we have suffered tonight demonstrate that our future victories will require us to dig deeper and work harder to continue bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice and equality. We must fight to protect our progress, and to limit the damage that Donald Trump has promised. To every LGBTQ person across this nation feeling stunned and disheartened, and questioning if they have a place in our country today, I say this: You do. Don’t ever let anybody tell you otherwise. Be bold, be strong, and continue to stand up for the principles that have always made America great."

During his tenure as governor of Indiana, Pence stood in opposition of gay marriage, signing into law a bill that made it legal for business owners to cite religious freedom when refusing service to LGBT customers. He also supported "conversion therapy" over funding for HIV prevention. 

As for Schaffer's wedding, which will likely happen in the coming weeks at a local city hall, Schaffer contends that with Trump in office, it's best to focus on their two children and what's important: "We're doing this for our children. And focusing, as a family, on love and kindness." 

 

Linda: we should get married this weekend Me: that's crazy, I have too much going on Linda: if I book it, will you show...

Posted by Kirsten Schaffer on Wednesday, November 9, 2016
 

It is super sweet and I love her madly...but, just to be clear, the urgency is out of fear for the safety of our family!!!

Posted by Kirsten Schaffer on Wednesday, November 9, 2016
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