WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two conservative Supreme Court justices are taking aim at the landmark case that legalized same-sex marriage across the U.S. in 2015.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito released a four-page opinion Monday about the religious liberty implications from the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
Thomas and Alito argue that the decision threatens the religious liberty of Americans who believe that marriage is a “sacred institution” between a man and woman.
“Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws,” wrote the justices.
Thomas and Alito were among the four justices who voted against legalizing same-sex marriage five years ago, arguing that it should have been left to the states to the decide.
“If the states had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who hold these religious beliefs,” they wrote.
Monday’s opinion came as the court declined to hear the case involving Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who made headlines in 2015 as she declined marriage licenses to gay couples, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Thomas wrote that he agreed with not taking up the case, because it didn’t “cleanly present” important questions raised about Obergefell v. Hodges.
In their opinion, Thomas and Alito say Davis may have been “one of the first victims” of the court’s “cavalier treatment of religion” in the Obergefell decision, but she won’t be the last.
They claim, “Obergefell enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss.”
Thomas and Alito ended the opinion saying the court’s decision in the Obergefell case has “created a problem that only it can fix,” suggesting there’s a possibility the justices could move to overturn the 2015 decision.
This comes weeks after the death of liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans are working hard to appoint Judge Amy Coney Barrett to that seat, which would give conservatives a 6-3 majority.