In the first Supreme Court session after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said in a statement that same-sex marriage will continue to have “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”
The statement was part of a Supreme Court decision not to hear a case involving a county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue a marriage licence to a same-sex couple.
In the statement, Thomas said that the Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, was made undemocratically and that “the court created a problem only it can fix.” This made Thomas’ and Alito’s motives clear – if given the chance, they will vote against equal rights. It was also a clear signal to Americans that they wanted someone to bring a case before the Supreme Court so that they could overturn Obergefell.
While freedom of religion is explicitly protected in the First Amendment, there should be a separation of church and state to prevent discrimination using religion. This has happened for decades as LGBT Americans have had unequal rights because homosexuality was seen as a sin.
Religious freedom and liberties can exist at the same time as equal rights for all.
Obergefell v. Hodges was a monumental landmark in the fight for LGBT rights as it made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states five years ago. However, the decision was 5-4.
With Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the opinion of Thomas and Alito, that decision is now under attack. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. originally held a dissenting view in Obergefell. It is still unclear where new justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh stand on the issue.
If the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who has stated that same-sex marriage should be left to the states, is confirmed, the dissenting view on same-sex marriage could become the majority.
In a country of supposed equal rights and opportunity, LGBT rights should have been included from the start. LGBT Americans should not have to face discrimination in the eyes of law.
The Obergefell decision was a major step in LGBT people being seen as equal in the eyes of the law. And now given the current circumstances in the Supreme Court, those equal rights are under attack once again.
The Supreme Court should let the decision of Obergefell v. Hodges stand.