Anti-LGBTQ group will ask Supreme Court to overturn marriage equality decision

OCT. 8, 2019: Rally for LGBTQ rights outside Supreme Court.
OCT. 8, 2019: Rally for LGBTQ rights outside Supreme Court. Photo: Shutterstock

A far-right anti-LGBTQ organization is planning to ask the Supreme Court to overturn their landmark marriage equality decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, just after two Supreme Court justices argued that marriage equality itself is a threat to religious liberty.

Liberty Counsel, an SPLC designated hate group, said in a press release today that they will petition the high court to end marriage equality after Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito signed a concurring opinion in the case of Davis v. Ermold  that argued that marriage equality has had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.”

Related: Liberty Counsel: ‘The life of the average homosexual is controlled by lust’

The opinion was about Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’s legal battle to not be held liable for denying same-sex couples marriage licenses, this time arguing that the legal doctrine of qualified immunity should protect her from having to pay damages.

The Supreme Court refused to hear her appeal, which sent the case back to the trial court. Thomas and Alito agreed with the Court, but said that they agreed because her case “does not cleanly present” a chance to overturn Obergefell.

“Even though the High Court declined to take up qualified immunity, Justices Thomas and Alito are inviting future challenges regarding Obergefell and to fix the mess the Court created,” said Liberty Counsel Chair Mat Staver.

In the press release, Liberty Counsel says that they are waiting for Davis’s case to go forward in trial court, after which they “will then file a petition to present the opportunity for the Supreme Court to address Obergefell.”

In his opinion issued yesterday, Thomas called Davis a “devout Christian” who was “one of the first victims of this Court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision.” He wrote that now Christians who oppose LGBTQ equality are being branded “as bigots.”

“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,” Thomas wrote in the concurring opinion. “Until then, Obergefell will continue to have ‘ruinous consequences for religious liberty.’”

Far-right judge Amy Coney Barrett may soon get confirmed to the Supreme Court and could potentially be another vote in favor of overturning the decision, considering her ties with another anti-LGBTQ hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom.

The ACLU’s Chase Strangio noted on Twitter yesterday that it’s unusual to see Supreme Court justices openly show their desire to overturn a five-year-old decision.

“The brazenness of the rightward direction of the Court is a threat to even the most basic expectation of legal protection,” he tweeted.

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