We do not normally comment on political things, but this one affects us and it affects you. As you most likely are very aware of, the Supreme Court has struck down Roe v Wade. We write this because this has the potential to affect us and our membership rather directly. We are not telling you what to do or how to feel. This announcement is to warn what could happen next, and what steps we might have to take.
Abortion is not directly an issue of OhioSMART. However Roe v Wade was a foundational decision that is directly cited as precedent in a number of other decisions. Fundamental in Roe v Wade is that it enshrined an implied right to privacy, which informed many later cases. This overturn could affect a number of rights including:
Buying and owning contraceptives (Griswold v Connecticut, Eisenstadt v Baird)
Interracial Marriage (Loving v Virginia)
BDSM, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, generally referred to as "sodomy" (Lawrence v Texas)
Gay Marriage (Obergefell v Hodges)
The things that we do in this community, both with parties and with education, are absolutely at risk now. BDSM in general has always existed in a sort of legally grey space - the court has held repeatedly that you do not have a protected right to BDSM most recently in 2016 (Doe v Rector & Visitors of George Mason University). There's a whole history of court cases that deal with a variety of situations, but most of it isn't entirely applicable to what we do at SMART.
So at this point we on the board have to consider certain possibilities. If what we do becomes illegal. If we can no longer rent a space. If we have to disallow certain activities. All of this is, of course, subject to the interests of local and state law enforcement. It just takes one city or county making a law, or our state making a law. Or it might just be a matter if the law enforcement agencies in our city decide to focus on groups like ours. We cannot afford to just assume that these things cannot happen to us - we must be prepared.
We are a community largely of marginalized people. This decision has no doubt affected a lot of our members personally, and we don't want to add on to your stress. Instead we want to show you that we are aware of what this means. We are monitoring it. We will do everything within our power to keep going, we will adjust things if we have to. We will communicate these things to our members as we do, usually via our home website and through email.
We don't know exactly what the future holds, but we are preparing for worst case scenarios. And we will fight however we can. We know that this organization has existed for 27 years - prior to Lawrence v Texas, and we have changed a lot over those years. We have a certain level of adaptability, so there is nothing imminent here. But we have discussed certain failsafes - some of which we cannot discuss in writing.
This is a big deal to us for a variety of reasons. We preach consent a lot in our space and part of good consent is that it be informed. You are taking a risk engaging in kink here, elsewhere, and even in the privacy of your own home. We would not be doing our job if we weren't keeping you informed of that risk, and telling you what you're consenting to by attending our events. We hope you keep coming, and we hope that the community we build will someday help rebuild the rights we all deserve to have.