An unexpected statement by two Supreme Court justices dennouncing same sex marriage has caused alarm over the court’s direction even before Donald Trump’s appointment, Amy Coney Barrett, arrives on the bench.
Associate justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito argued on Monday that a landmark decision in 2015 enabling same sex couples to marry created “bigots” of “religious adherents”.
Agreeing with the court’s decision not to hear Davis’s appeal on the matter, Mr Thomas and Mr Alito called her request a “stark reminder of the consequences” of the court’s decision in Obergefell v Hodges, which paved the way for same sex marriage in the United States.
“By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix,” wrote Mr Thomas.
“Until then, Obergefell will continue to have ‘ruinous consequences for religious liberty,” he continued, whilst claiming that Davis “may have been one of the first victims of this court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision” and warned: “She will not be the last.”
The voluntary four-page statement prompted dismay amongst LGBTQ campaigners, legal experts and lawmakers on Monday, with Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, telling the Washington Blade that the Court believed LGBTQ rights to be “ruinous”.
“[It] proves yet again that a segment of the Court views LGBTQ rights as ‘ruinous’ and remains dead set against protecting and preserving the rights of LGBTQ peoples,” he argued.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, argued that Republicans were trying to remove LGBTQ rights and marriage equality.
“This is what's at stake with Republicans trying to force through this illegitimate process. People's rights. Ending marriage equality. Stripping away LGBTQ+ rights. We are fighting to stop it."