Conservative US Supreme Court Justices take aim at marriage equality

Two conservative US Supreme Court Justices have set their sights on a 2015 decision that led to marriage equality becoming a reality in the United States.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have shared their opposition to the five-year-old decision, Obergefell vs. Hodges, that paved the way for same-gender couples to marry, in a statement released this week.

The statement comes as the Supreme Court returns for a new term after the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thomas and Alito published their concerns that the Supreme Court rejected an appeal for the case of Kim Davis – the Kentucky county clerk who made international headlines for refusing to approve marriage licenses for gay couples.

Justice Thomas’s statement outlines his belief that Obergefell vs. Hodges “enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss.”

The statement, supported by Justice Alito, also names Kim Davis as “one of the first victims” of the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision.

“When she began her tenure as clerk, Davis’ sincerely held religious beliefs— that marriage exists between one man and one woman— corresponded with the definition of marriage under Kentucky law.”

“As a result of this Court’s alteration of the Constitution, Davis found herself faced with a choice between her religious beliefs and her job. When she chose to follow her faith, and without any statutory protection of her religious beliefs, she was sued almost immediately for violating the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.”

“Davis may have been one of the first victims of this Court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision, but she will not be the last.”

“Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws.”

LGBTIQ+ advocates and communities in the US have raised concerns over the future of LGBTIQ+ rights in the United States, as President Trump and the Republicans gear up to replace the progressive Justice Ginsberg with a new conservative voice.

OIP Staff

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