There are some truly frightened people who are concerned about the consequences of President Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. Abortion, Obamacare and voting rights are often cited as areas of concern with a 6–3 conservative court. Not much attention has been paid to a landmark civil rights case which might be overturned.
Obergefell v. Hodges was decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2015, which caused same-sex marriages to be fully recognized throughout the U.S., with these couples having the same rights as couples of opposite sexes. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have released a statement indicating that they plan to challenge the Obergefell decision because it threatens the religious liberty of those who oppose same-sex marriage.
It is ironic that Justice Thomas seeks to overturn a decision that removed barriers for marriage and equal rights. Clarence Thomas lives with his wife, Ginni Lamp Thomas, who is white, in Virginia. Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia in 1967, the Thomas marriage would have been unlawful due to the couple being of different races. In fact, restrictions on marriage between different races existed in 24 states. One must be surprised that Justice Thomas does not see the parallel between Obergefell v. Hodges and Loving v. Virginia.
The concern for religious liberty must be examined, by first reading the First Amendment, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Note that there can be no law establishing a state religion and recall that the colonists who settled Massachusetts, Maryland and Pennsylvania were all escaping the Church of England. In Virginia, until the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786, the Church of England was the only approved religion in the colony. Jefferson authored this statute and cited it as one of three accomplishments to be placed on his epitaph.
Why do Justices Thomas and Alito oppose same-sex marriage? They are both Catholics and their Bible prohibits intimacies between two members of the same sex. Using a specific bible to justify marital restrictions must be considered establishing a state religion. The laws in the Bible about abortion, same-sex behavior and birth control were created to allow the growth of the religion’s population. We are not trying to accelerate the U.S. population, so there is no reason other than religion to justify prohibiting same-sex marriage.
Freedom from religion is more important than religious liberty, if the latter means placing restrictions on citizens outside your faith based on the teaching of that faith. Do Justices Alito and Thomas still believe that the earth is the center of the solar system? – see the trial of Galileo to understand this reference.