When was the first gay TV series? A short history of LGBT+ representation

The gay kiss on Australian TV series The Box in 1974

While representation of gay characters in TV series has come a long way in the last couple of decades, it has been a painfully slow process to get to this point.

This year, GLAAD’s “Where We Are On TV” report found that of 773 series regular characters scheduled to appear on broadcast scripted primetime television in the US this season, 9.1 percent are LGBT+. However, with 20 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 identifying as LGBT+, there is still a long way to go.

But for most of TV history, LGBT+ characters have been totally absent, or have appeared fleetingly as the butt of a joke or as a victim of violence.

When did the first gay character appear on TV?

In 1971, the year after the first-ever Pride parade in the US and when homosexuality was still considered a disorder, All in the Family became the first American sitcom to show a gay character on TV, in only its fifth episode.

The episode subverted gay stereotypes, as Archie Bunker mocks a man who he considers effeminate, but turns out to be straight. It is later revealed that his macho, football-loving drinking buddy Steve is actually gay.

The gay character Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli, in the US TV series The Corner Bar
The gay character Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli, in the US TV series The Corner Bar. (Youtube/ Gilmore Box)

A year later, in 1972, US sitcom The Corner Bar included the first-ever gay series regular on American TV. While the ABC show stuck around for just 16 episodes, it made history with the character of Peter Panama, played by Vincent Schiavelli.

Rich Wandel, then-president of the Gay Activists Alliance, called Peter “the worst stereotype of a gay person I’ve ever seen”.

While most early gay characters were sidelined, not given their own storylines or love interests, eventually same-sex couples began appearing on TV.

During the same year as The Corner Bar, Australia also saw its first gay series regular – Don Finlayson portrayed Joe Hasham on the serial Number 96 between 1972 and 1977. He had several same-sex relationships, and even lived with his boyfriend Dudley.

In 1975 ABC’s Hot l Baltimore featured the first gay couple on US network television. George and Gordon, played by Lee Bergere and Henry Calvert, were a middle-aged gay couple that appeared on the show, which was so controversial that it was dropped by the network after six months on air.

It wasn’t until 1981 that a TV show with a gay lead character was shown on primetime US television, when NBC’s Love, Sidney aired. However the show’s titular character Sidney Shorr, a single gay man, remains in the closet for every one of the 40 episodes.

The UK trailed behind in its LGBT+ TV representation, and an openly gay character was not shown on TV until 1985, when the Liverpool-based soap Brookside introduced Gordon Collins, played by Nigel Cowley.

In 1989, the first Black lesbian relationship on US TV was broadcast by ABC in the series The Women of Brewster Place.

The LGBT lesbian kiss Brookside
The groundbreaking kiss between Beth and Margaret in Brookside in 1994 is still being talked about today (Channel 4)

When was the first same-sex kiss shown on TV?

One of the first same-sex kisses shown on TV anywhere in the world is thought to have been on the Australian soap opera The Box, in 1974.

Vicki Stafford, played by Judy Nunn, is a bisexual reporter who, in the very first episode of the show, shared a same-sex kiss with Felicity, played by Helen Hemingway.

In the UK, Eastenders broadcast the first gay kiss between Colin Russell (Michael Cashman) and his partner Barry Clark (Gary Hailes) in 1989.The first kiss between two women on a UK TV series was aired in 1994. The iconic Brookside lesbian kiss was followed the same year by another same-sex smooch on Byker Grove.

In the US, the first same-sex kiss on network television was between two female lawyers on LA Law in 1991. NBC received multiple complaints and advertisers pulled their ads from the network, however the show ran for eight seasons and won multiple Emmys.

What’s next for LGBT+ representation on TV? It’s hard to say, but things are definitely going in the right direction – even if there is more to be done.


LGBT History Month zoom event hijacked by homophobia, transphobia

latina-girl-studying-at-home-with-laptop-computer-GEA6J93 (1)

An LGBT+ History Month seminar for under-18s was interrupted by a cyber attacker who shouted homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs.

Education non-profit Academus Education was hosting a digital think tank event in celebration of LGBT+ History Month when it was “attacked by a group of 15 cyber terrorists”, managing director Emily Shaed told PinkNews.

Academus, a free education service for students who haven’t had access to Classical education, had been online for just 15 minutes before the attack.

Shaed said the hackers “took over all our controls and began spreading messages of hate” – sharing antisemitic imagery, searching the internet for pornography, shouting “just about every slur you can imagine” and spamming the chat.

Shaed and her whole team were “devastated and disgusted” by the hate they saw. She said: “Academus is supposed to be a safe space for people to come together in celebration of one another.

“So, to see someone take advantage of our platform in such a vicious way is heartbreaking.”

The non-profit, which is supported by UCL Department of Greek and Latin, offers free virtual events including think tanks, roundtables and a summer school to provide young people aged 13 to 18 an introduction to the Classics. The 11 February event was due to bring LGBT+ education to the forefront of a field which tends to be incredibly heteronormative, elitist and white.

‘This is why LGBT+ history month is so important’

Yentl Love, who runs the LGBT+ blog The Queer Classicist, was one of the guest speakers during the event. She was invited to decode the gender binary in academia around Dionysus – the ancient Greek god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theatre and religious ecstasy.

However, Love was left “sick and outraged” after the attack. She wrote on Twitter that the incident proved why LGBT+ History Month was so important.

Love said: “If anyone wondered why [LGBT+ History Month] was so important, the speakers and participants of [Academus Education]’s LGBTQ+ ancient history online talks were just attacked by a user shouting homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs, and showing disgusting explicit images.”

“Can’t put into words my emotions right now, feel so sick and outraged and s***ty.

“My heart is with the incredible organisers, the other speakers and everyone on the call.

“To everyone I asked to come and watch me present, I am really, really sorry.”

Shaed told PinkNews that for all 71 students in attendance at the event, “it was a terrifying experience and made people feel so violated and unsafe in their own homes”. She said the organisation contacted the police about the attack, reporting it as a cybercrime and hate crime.

But Shaed said the police do not appear able to investigate the horrific event. She explained: “From the stance of cybercrime since we did not lose any money, and our internal security does not seem obviously compromised, they have told us that there is nothing they can do.

“From the perspective of hate crime, the local constabulary has said that they cannot fully investigate the case because of its widespread nature and realistically it would take every single attendee reporting it to their local police force for the case to be escalated.”

Shaed was told the police will report the matter, and has been offered the opportunity to speak to somebody from a victim support team.

She said Academus Education is also conducting an internal investigation to ensure that “our audience is not exposed to such horrific events again” and has advised any attendees to contact them if they need support.

Shaed shared that they plan to re-run the event in the future to share the guest speaker’s works and discuss Classics education through the queer lens.

“We will not let these hateful people silence the good work we are doing,” Shaed said. “We will continue to provide education, continue to celebrate diversity and come together stronger than ever to host future events.”

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says there’s ‘no such thing’ as LGBT people

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Getty)

Turkey’s fiercely anti-gay president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has claimed that there is “no such thing” as LGBT+ people.

Erdoğan has positioned himself as an ardent opponent to LGBT+ rights, with tensions rising in recent days following student protests in Istanbul.

The president doubled down on his anti-LGBT+ views on Wednesday (3 January), according to SBS.

“The LGBT, there is no such thing,” Erdoğan reportedly said.

“This country is… moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.”

Erdoğan’s comments come after protests erupted at Bogazici University in Istanbul, where students hit out at the president for appointing government loyalist Melih Bulu as rector of the institution.

Tensions boiled over when protesters displayed a poster on campus depicting the Kaaba in Mecca adorned with rainbow flags. The students were subsequently arrested, with interior minister Suleyman Soylu branding them “perverts” on Twitter.

Since the protests, Erdoğan – who has a long history of making anti-LGBT+ comments – has doubled down on his views.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has branded LGBT+ people as ‘vandals’.

During an online address to members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on 1 February, Erdoğan said: “We’ll carry our youth to the future, not as LGBT+ youth, but like the youth from this country’s glorious past.”

He added: “You are not the youth who vandalise, but you are those who mend those vandalised hearts.”

Speaking on Wednesday (3 February), Erdoğan hit out at protesters, asking: “Are you students or terrorists who dare to raid the room of the rector? This country will not be a place where terrorists prevail. We will never allow this.”

Anti-LGBT+ sentiment has been on the rise in Turkey for a number of years – however, things have not always been like this.

In recent years, the government has begun a clampdown on LGBT+ rights and freedom, opting to ban Istanbul Pride in June 2015. Since then, a number of other Pride festivals have been banned and shut down, with violence breaking out when queer people tried to celebrate regardless.

Erdoğan has also been vocal in his opposition to queer people. In July 2020, he accused LGBT+ people of “sneaking up on our national and spiritual values again” and of trying to “poison young people” throughout history.

“I invite all members of my nation to be careful and take a stand against those who exhibit all kinds of heresy that our Lord has forbidden, and those who support them,” Erdoğan said at the time.

Gay Biden official sends powerful message of LGBT+ inclusion

US State Department spokesman Ned Price

The US state department’s official spokesperson Ned Price has spoken about the importance of LGBT+ representation.

The Biden administration official, who is the first ever openly gay man to be named spokesperson for the US department of state, led his first televised press briefing on Tuesday (2 February).

LGBT+ activists say the appointment of the 38-year-old gay former CIA official to serve as the country’s voice on international issues sends a clear message to the 70 countries where homosexuality remains criminalized.

Innanoshe Richard Akuson, a Nigerian LGBT rights activist, told ABC: “It’s incredibly important for queer people in countries where homosexuality and queerness is a death sentence.”

State department spokesperson Ned Price says inclusiveness and representation matter

Speaking to ABC ahead of his first briefing, Price said: “The point that… President Biden himself has made is that we need a national security workforce that looks like the country we represent, and that’s especially important for the Department of State that’s speaking to rest of world.

“Both in our word and our deed, our values of inclusiveness and strength in diversity will be on full display. Representation matters.”

US State Department spokesman Ned Price
US State Department spokesman Ned Price (Getty/NICHOLAS KAMM)

Biden administration has vowed to appoint a new LGBT+ envoy

Biden’s secretary of state Antony Blinken has also vowed to set about restoring the role of international envoy on LGBT+ human rights, which was introduced under Barack Obama but quietly gutted – alongside much of the department’s work on international LGBT+ rights – under the Trump administration.

Blinken said last month that filling the role was “a matter, I think, of some real urgency”.

He added: “We’ve seen violence directed against LGBTQI people around the world increase. We’ve seen, I believe, the highest number of murders of transgender people, particularly women of colour, that we’ve seen ever.

“And so I think the United States playing the role that it should be playing in standing up for and defending the rights of LGBTQI people is something that the department is going to take on and take on immediately.”

Four university students arrested over alleged LGBT artwork

Demonstrators wearing masks hold an LGBT+ flag during the demonstration at Boaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey

Demonstrators wearing masks hold an LGBT+ flag during the demonstration at Boaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey. (Tunahan Turhan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Four students were detained Saturday (30 January) and dubbed “deviants” by Turkey’s interior minister over a piece of artwork that reportedly depicted rainbows alongside the Kaaba.

The Kaaba is the most sacred site in Islam, being a building in the centre of the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Tensions have simmered at Boğaziçi University in Instanbul after a supposed loyalist of Turkey’s governing party, the Justice and Development Party, was appointed as a senior official by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Student-led pushback erupted earlier this month, as demonstrators, many holding LGBT+ Pride flags, argued that the presidential appointment of professor Melih Bulu as rector went against the university’s 158-year-long history of electing its own.

According to Ahval, yet another fever pitch in the weeks-long outcry was sparked when four students allegedly laid down a piece of artwork that depicted the Kaaba alongside rainbow symbols commonly associated with LGBT+ Pride.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office accused the students of “laying a photo of the Kaaba on the ground in a Boğaziçi University exhibition”.

LGBT+ Pride flags ‘seized’ as student’s rooms raided for allegedly placing rainbow artwork

LGBT+ Pride flags were “seized” during a police search of the student’s rooms, the İstanbul Governor’s Office said in a statement, calling it an “ugly attack” that “mocked religious beliefs”.

The tinderbox act ignited fierce condemnation from top Turkish officials. After all, rainbows and other so-called LGBT+ symbols have been reduced by decision-makers into a volatile culture war.

Indeed, Turkey’s interior minister, who helms the country’s internal affairs such as public security and election conduct, lampooned the demonstrators.

“Four LGBT deviants, who disrespected the Islamic holy site, the Kaaba, have been detained at Boğaziçi University,” tweeted Süleyman Soylu Friday evening (29 January).

But the university’s LGBT+ society, Boğaziçi LGBTİ+, issued a statement in solidarity with the arrested students. “We stand with our detained friends against those who attack LGBT+ people,” the statement read.

“We do not accept trustees who target their own students!”

In Turkey, lawmakers, religious leaders and humanitarians find a common enemy – LGBT+ people

In Turkey, the sight of tear gas, water cannons and plastic riot shields squelching Pride events in Istanbul has become a regretful annual tradition.

The country’s president, Erdoğan, as well as lawmakers, religious leaders, heads of major humanitarian agencies and even clothing retailers have launched vicious attacks against the country’s embattled LGBT+ community.

Retail giant LC Waikiki announced earlier this year that it will ban rainbows, unicorns and other “LGBT+ images” from being used in its clothing designs.

Meanwhile, government advertising regulators launched their own chilling clampdown by claiming rainbows “negatively affect children’s mental health” – so rainbow merchandise must come with an 18+ warning as a result.

Ian McKellen welcomes JoJo Siwa to the LGBT community

Ian McKellen welcomes JoJo Siwa to the LGBT community

Sir Ian McKellen kept it classy with a message of support for JoJo Siwa (John Phillips/Getty)

Sir Ian McKellen warmly welcomed YouTuber JoJo Siwa to the LGBT+ community with a heartfelt message of support on Twitter.

Seventeen-year-old Dance Moms star Siwa publicly came out on 22 January, sharing a photo of herself in a t-shirt that read: “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”

Her low-key announcement prompted an onslaught of media attention which saw the young star’s home being stormed by police after an alleged “swatting” by paparazzi, who lay in wait outside.

She’s also had to deal with a number of angry parents who believe she’s no longer fit to be a children’s entertainer, and lack the shame to keep their homophobia to themselves.

JoJo Siwa has remained upbeat despite all the drama, thanks in large part to the outpouring of support from her many young followers – but there was one older fan who wanted to share the love too.

Being experienced in matters of the press and the heart, Sir Ian, 81, addressed her directly on Twitter.

“I hope JoJo Siwa puts aside any negative reaction to her coming-out, at a time when she deserves praise and empathy for taking control of her life in such a public way,” he wrote.

Several fans praised McKellen’s sweet message to Siwa, commenting: “Us older LGBT+ have to support the younger ones as they come out.”

“It’s brave to speak one’s truth, and to do so in this way, at this age, is incredible. JoJo deserves all the praise!” said one. “Thank you, Sir Ian, for publicly being by her side.”

“Legends supporting legends,” another added. “This tweet is so beautiful, it represents so much. Thank you Sir Ian.”

Others, however, were mostly just thrilled that Sir Ian McKellen actually knows who JoJo Siwa is.


Kamala Harris’ swearing-in could open up a major opportunity for LGBT+ representation in the US Senate

Kamala Harris will give up her Senate seat in January

With Kamala Harris set to become vice president, there could be a vital opportunity to bolster LGBT+ representation in the US Senate.

Harris has represented California in the United States Senate since 2016, but is set to give up her seat in the chamber on January 20 as she assumes office as Joe Biden’s second-in-command.

Under the rules of the chamber, it will be up to Governor of California Gavin Newsom to appoint an interim senator to fill the seat temporarily, serving until a special election can be held to elect a full-time replacement for Kamala Harris.

LGBT+ campaigners have called on Newsom to use the opportunity to bolster  queer representation in the Senate, which has only ever had two out LGBT+ members, Senators Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema.

Replacement of Kamala Harris could bolster LGBT+ representation in the US Senate

LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to bolster LGBT+ representation in politics, has suggested that Newsom could appoint either California state senate president Toni Atkins or Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, two of the state’s most accomplished LGBT+ leaders, to serve in the seat.

Annise Parker of Victory Fund said: “Governor Newsom is one of the strongest allies we have in elected office and consistently shows courage in his efforts to advance equality, so we are hopeful he will add to his legacy with an LGBTQ appointment.

“Both Senator Atkins and Mayor Garcia represent communities too often denied political power – including women, immigrants and people of colour – furthering the impact their appointment would make.”

Kamala Harris could see her Senate seat filled by an LGBT+ person
Gavin Newsom could appoint either California state senate president pro tempore Toni Atkins or Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia, the group says

Parker continued: “Not just in California but across the country, the LGBTQ community would celebrate an LGBTQ leader taking the position and we will stand by them with resources and support to ensure they succeed.

“We hold immense pride in the leadership of our current LGBTQ US Senators and would be eager to rally behind an LGBTQ US Senator from the largest state in the nation.”

Senate will play a pivotal role in Biden years

The Senate is primed to play an outsized role in US politics during the early years of the Biden administration, with a nail-biting double election in Georgia set for January set to decide control of the chamber.

The best-case scenario for Biden would result in a 50-50 split in the chamber that would require his policy measures to attract support from every single Democratic senator.

If Republicans win the Georgia seats, however, they will maintain control of the chamber and could effectively block much of the president’s agenda, which could spell peril for Biden’s ability to deliver on key promises, including on LGBT+ rights.

Republican governor just made it legal to discriminate against LGBT people

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott at the state capital on May 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Drew Anthony Smith/Getty)

Social workers can freely discriminate against LGBT+, as well as people with disabilities, thanks to the administration of Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott as of Monday (12 October).

The lawmaker, who once signed a bill banning discrimination against businesses with anti-LGBT+ views amid boycotts against Chick-fil-A, pressured the state’s regulatory board, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners, to make the change to its code of conduct.

Flipping 2010 and 2012 LGBT+ protections, Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton pressured board leaders to vote to rejig the rules in favour of homophobes, the Texas Tribune reported.

The move was hailed by the country’s top social worker organisation, the National Association of Social Workers, as “incredibly disheartening”.

It comes after Abbott signed legislation in 2019 to bar businesses from being discriminated against for their anti-LGBT+ views. “Discrimination is not tolerated in Texas,” he said, somehow devoid of all irony.

Republican governor pressured board to make social workers discriminating LGBT+ people perfectly legal.

Abbott, the board members claimed, lobbied for the change because the code of law offered service users protections beyond what is provided by state law.

“It’s not surprising that a board would align its rules with statutes passed by the Legislature,” said Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze.

The vote itself happened during a joint meeting between the board and the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, which managed mental health regulatory agencies.

Yet, for social workers themselves, a sense of unease. Steven Parks, who works with child trauma victims at a private practise in Houston, called the change “both a professional and a personal gut-punch”.

“There’s now a grey area between what’s legally allowed and ethically responsible.

“The law should never allow a social worker to legally do unethical things.”

He stressed that the policy change will undoubtedly crater LGBT+ mental health even further: “There’s research to show that members of the queer community are at higher risk for trauma, higher risk for all sorts of mental health conditions.”

Eric Trump clarifies he’s not actually LGBT+ after ‘misspeaking’ on live TV

Eric Trump clarifies he's not actually LGBT+ after 'misspeaking' on

Eric Trump visits FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo at FOX Studios on October 4, 2016 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty)

Eric Trump has clarified that he is not actually a member of the LGBT+ community, after accidentally “coming out” during a live Fox News interview.

The president’s second-oldest and second-worst son, who has two children with his wife Lara Trump, was insisting that there was a lot of support for his father within the LGBT+ community on Fox and Friends on Monday (September 28).

But during the live interview, Trump said: “The LGBT+ community, they are incredible. You should see how they come out in full force for my father every single day.

“I’m part of that community, and we love the man, and thank you for protecting our neighbourhoods and thank you for protecting our cities.”

His “coming out” caused extreme confusion, with Bobby Lewis of Media Matters, sharing the clip on Twitter and writing: “Eric Trump coming out is not the birthday gift this homosexual wanted.”

Trump’s comments even led to his Wikipedia page being swiftly updated to say: “On September 29, 2020, Eric came out as a member of the LGBT community.”

Trump has now clarified that he “misspoke”, and is not actually queer, insisting that he was simply paraphrasing what LGBT+ people apparently say about his dad.

He told the New York Post: “To clarify, many of our close friends are part of the LGBT community, which was the intent of my statement — the left has taken that vote for granted for a long time and support from the gay community for my father is incredible.”

“As to me personally, as I think you know, I am a happily married man to my wife, Lara,” he added. Trump also confirmed that he is not bisexual.

As one Twitter user put it: “Eric Trump: ‘I’m not LGBT. I was speaking for LGBT people.’

“The LGBT community must be thrilled about their new spokesperson.”



Ruth Bader Ginsbug’s death was ‘painful’ for LGBT people

Ruth Bader Ginsbug's death was 'painful' for LGBT people

Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that could determine the constitutionality of marriage for same-sex couples, smiles as he walks out of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, June 18, 2015. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty)

Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the case which legalised marriage equality across the US, has explained what the late supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginsbug meant to him.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of Jim Obergefell and other plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring both that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, and that states are required to recognise marriages from elsewhere.

The victory of equality came by a vote of 5-4, with the majority opinion authored by justice Anthony Kennedy, who was joined by justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at her home on Friday evening (18 September) from complications of metastatic cancer of the pancreas, prompting an outpouring of love and praise for the equal rights champion.

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Obergefell described Ginsburg’s death as “a devastating loss”, and said: “All of us in the LGBT+ community, and I would also say any marginalised group in our nation, we’re reeling from the death of an advocate for equality.”

He said that the queer community felt the loss “especially painfully because she had become such an advocate for us, and she was willing to get to know us and to understand us”.

Obergefell added: “I see justice Ginsburg’s legacy as one of someone who dedicated her career and her life to our nation, for the betterment of our nation.

“She truly believed in the law applying to all people. She believed in equal justice under law, those four words inscribed in the pediment of the courthouse.

“She also understood that the constitution is a living, breathing document… She understood that that document had to change in response to changing society, in response to how we learn more, how we understand each other more as time goes by.

“So for me, her legacy is all about dignity and equality under the law, and I can’t think of a better legacy for a Supreme Court justice to have.”

Jim Obergefell is ‘very concerned’ about LGBT+ rights being ‘taken away’.

Democrats have called for a delay in replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, following a precedent set during the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency, when Republicans senate majority leader Mitch McConnell declared a replacement would not be approved, and that the next president would instead choose his or her pick following the election.

However on Friday (18 September), McConnell was adamant that a vote would be held on Trump’s nominee. Ted Cruz has argued that there is a different precedent for times when the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party, which wasn’t the case under Obama.

On the political firestorm over naming Ginsburg’s successor on the Supreme Court, Jim Obergefell said: “The fact that McConnell issued that statement shortly after it was announced [that Ginsburg had died], he isn’t giving her the chance to be honoured and to be remembered, and to be respected.

“It immediately became political. The country really didn’t have a chance to start mourning, to grieve for her, before he came out with that statement and turned this into a political fight, which it should not be.”

Until Ginsburg’s death, the supreme court had a 5 to 4 Republican majority. Should Trump’s nominee be appointed, this would shift to a stronger 6 to 3 conservative majority which could remain in place for decades, shaping major legal decisions in the US for years to come.

Obergefell said: “I am definitely more concerned about marriage equality, as well as other issues of equality for all marginalised groups, with Justice Ginsburg no longer on the court.

“If Trump is able to nominate and have a judge confirmed, I am very concerned about our rights being taken away and other rights being denied under a newly very conservative court.”