As the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court progresses, a couple of developments reveal the stakes for religious liberty.
Jim Obergefell is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that culminated in a 5-4 decision mandating that every state recognize same sex marriage. He teamed up with Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, to write an opinion piece which the Washington Post published last week, warning that Judge Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court “would be an LGBTQ rights emergency.”
Mr. Obergefell and Mr. David lament in their op-ed that, “Two of the justices in the majority have since left the court.” They warn that, if Judge Barrett replaces Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, so-called “marriage equality” may be vulnerable.
Another reminder that core values are at stake comes from a case the Supreme Court refused to take. Recently, the Court denied cert to Kim Davis, the clerk of the court in Rowan County, Kentucky who was jailed for refusing, based upon her Christian faith, to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples.
In conjunction with the denial, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a scathing statement, joined by Justice Samuel Alito. He explained the threat the Obergefell decision poses to Americans with sincerely held religious beliefs that do not condone same sex marriage. People of faith who exercise their belief that marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman are often labeled as bigots and can be severely penalized when they live according to those convictions.
The Thomas/Alito statement points out that same sex marriage is found “nowhere in the text of the Constitution” and that, “If the States had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who hold these religious beliefs.”
It would take extraordinary circumstances to overturn Obergefell. But Justice Thomas’s statement and the progressive Left’s alarm are reminders of just how important, how crucial, Judge Barrett’s confirmation is.