On Monday, Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito made it clear that marriage equality is still under attack. In a screed released on the first day of the Court’s new term, the conservative justices argued — forcefully — that Obergefell v Hodges must be overturned to protect religious freedoms.
(Obergefell v. Hodges is the case that cleared the way for same-sex marriage, recognizing it as a constitutional right in all states, in 2015.)
The argument that the two judges made, that discrimination against LGBTQ Americans should be treated as a religious freedom, is not a new one. But the issue was pushed back into the spotlight this week, after the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Kim Davis, the Kentucky County Clerk who was jailed in 2015 after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, weeks after marriage equality was established nationally.
Following the Court’s decision not to hear the appeal on Monday, Justices Thomas and Alito wrote that, with Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court had made Davis into a “victim” of religious discrimination, and that she was only the first of many. They went on to say that marriage equality was an affront to the constitution, and that the Court’s earlier decision had created “a problem that only the Court can fix.”
Their words sent a chill through the LGBTQ community, underscoring a real and imminent danger to marriage equality, and to all the rights of all LGBTQ Americans. Their challenge is a reminder that with more conservative judges being seated, discrimination against same-sex couples may once more become legal.
Right now, confirmation hearings for a new conservative judge, Amy Coney Barrett, are being pushed through ahead of an already contentious presidential election. If confirmed, Barrett ensures a strong conservative majority in the Court for decades to come. Justices Thomas and Alito’s willingness to speak out so forcefully against marriage equality sends an amplified, ominous message -- that our rights are tenuous.
Every day, hundreds of everyday folk get ordained by American Marriage Ministries so that they can officiate weddings for couples that have been rejected by mainstream churches. Many of these couples happen to be LGBTQ, and while their churches and communities insist on discriminating against them, we stand resolutely alongside these couples as fellow citizens, humans, and people that yearn for a future free from hatred and judgement.
As you choose to engage in civil society, remember that we are all equal, that we should all enjoy equal rights, and that discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race, ability, and background should never be the law of the land. To read more about the ethical underpinnings of AMM, check out our theological doctrine.