October 16, 2021 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Two Supreme Court Justices Want To Overturn Marriage Equality

After the Supreme Court today rejected the appeal of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Justice Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, who both oppose equal rights for LGBTQ Americans, reminded us that marriage equality is in danger when both justices wrote a lengthy discourse in defense of Davis. 

The two justices suggested that SCOTUS must overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized same-sex couples the right to marry, in order to preserve religious liberty in the United States. “Davis may have been one of the first victims of this courts’ cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision but she will not be the last.” Thomas warned. 

The dissent went on to say the court’s original ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which is where marriage equality was passed, created a “novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment” and that it enabled the government and courts 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.” In essence, they maintain that marriage equality is in opposition to the First Amendment.

The case began when Davis, an employee of the Rowan County clerk’s office refused to issue marriage licenses to couples David Ermold and David Moore, and James Yates and Will Smith. The couples were rejected three times when they requested marriage licenses from Davis in 2015, who was an employee of the clerk’s office. She was subsequently fired by the county and sued by the two couples. Davis claimed she was protected by qualified immunity from any lawsuits for her refusal to abide by the law and court decision. A federal appeals court rejected her claims in a 3-0 decision.

Today’s ruling by the court means the couple’s civil case against Davis can proceed, but the dissenting opinion of the two conservative associate justices is a major cause for concern. With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  the Senate is likely to confirm another conservative judge who would likely also be in favor of overturning marriage equality to fill her seat. 

While the statements made by the justices put some on high alert, Timothy R. Johnson, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Law at the University of Minnesota says that doesn’t automatically mean the court is poised to overturn marriage equality.

“I would suggest that there is some cause for concern, especially with the imminent confirmation of judge Amy Coney Barrett, who, by all accounts has very strong religious beliefs,” he said. “That said, the court actually handled two LGBTQ rights cases at the end of its term this past June. Both of those cases said that if you fire someone because he or she is gay, or because he or she is transgender that that is a violation of Title IV of the civil rights act of 1964.”

While this was before Ginburg’s passing, Johnson says she was not the pivotal role. 

“There were two conservative votes in those cases,” he continued. “Not only Chief Justice Roberts, who in fact, was a dissenter in the Obergefell case in 2015, but Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee, actually wrote the opinions in those cases. So there is, in fact, currently a five person majority on the court, including the Chief Justice, who will take a second look before saying we’re going to do some harm to same-sex couples or rights that they may possess.”

Statistically speaking Justices Thomas and Alito have the minority opinion, according to a Gallop poll taken this summer, two in three Americans support same-sex marriage, matching the previous high in 2018.

Related Posts

Minor League Star Kieran Lovegrove Comes Out As Bisexual

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Minor league and MLB prospect baseball star Kieran Lovegrove has publicly come out as bisexual. Lovegrove opened up about his...

Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Facility In South Los Angeles

October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Los Angeles LGBT Center has opened a new facility in South Los Angeles to serve the health needs of LGBT...

AIDS/LifeCycle Kick Off Ride

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

AIDS/LifeCycle is kicking off it’s 2022 training season to end AIDS on October 16th.  Riders can sign up for the...

WeHo Spreading The Word About Extended Residential Tenant Protections

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

County of Los Angeles extension of residential tenant protections will apply to West Hollywood residential tenants through January 31, 2022. ...

National Coming Out Day In Pasadena

October 11, 2021

October 11, 2021

Celebrate National Coming Out Day in Pasadena Memorial Park for its annual celebration. Pasadena Public Health Department, Pasadena Public Library...

WeHo To Support Cleanup and Wildlife Rescue Efforts After Orange County Oil Spill

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

The City of West Hollywood Activates ‘West Hollywood Responds’, a program to encourage donations to support cleanup and wildlife rescue...

WeHo to Recognize October as Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has announced that it would recognize October as Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence Awareness...

Restaurants In WeHo Showcase Delicious Specialties For dineL.A.

October 7, 2021

October 7, 2021

The City of West Hollywood’s restaurants showcase delicious specialties for dineL.A, a twice-annual event with participating restaurants offering special prix...

UCLA Study Suggests Nearly Half of LGBT Renters Behind on Rent Fear Eviction Within 2 Months

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

By Susan Payne According to a recent UCLA study, nearly half of the LGBT renters in the United States who...

OUT On The Mountain At Six Flags Magic Mountian

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Six Flags Magic Mountain celebrated LGBTQ Pride with its annual OUT on the Mountain event on Friday, September 17th.  Out...

WeHo Will Host Four Rent Stabilization Ordinance Educational Seminars

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

The City of West Hollywood will host four Rent Stabilization Ordinance educational seminars in October 2021 — two aimed at...

The Los Angeles LGBT Center & Gochis Galleries Announce Collaboration With Art Division

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate & Gochis Galleries announced a collaboration with Art Division.  Art Division is a community...

Caitlyn Jenner Expresses Outrage After California Recall Vote

September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021

Republican candidate Caitlyn Jenner received only one percent of the California recall vote.  The 2021 California gubernatorial recall election was...

Sex and the City Star Willie Garson Dead At 57

September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021

Acclaimed actor and Los Angeles resident Willie Garson passed away on September 21 after a short battle with pancreatic cancer,...

WeHo’s New Mayor And Mayor Pro Tem Sworn In

September 28, 2021

September 28, 2021

The City of West Hollywood has sworn in its new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore.  Lauren Meister was sworn in...