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Happy Pride? Supreme Court Could Reverse Marriage Equality

June is Pride Month, and while the LGBTQ+ community is celebrating through Pride events, the Supreme Court has been hinting at changing some very important legislation that would affect countless members.

The new team of Supreme Court justices have already made waves with a controversial statement issued by Clarence Thomas in a concurring opinion to overturn “erroneous decisions” made by precedents. Thomas was referring to a case about double jeopardy, yet activists and legal observers have connected it with the abortion argument. This statement could be the first step on overturning Roe v. Wade and restricting abortion rights to individuals across America. He also has used extremely politicized language such as referring to abortions as eugenics.

To the LGBTQ+ community, this statement is also an attack on Obergefell v. Hodges. Thomas stated that these “erroneous decisions” are based on personal opinions and what the judges felt was the right thing and not actually based on constitutional literature and legal responsibility. Specifically naming the case in his statement, Thomas claimed that preferences are set before requirements of the law by certain judges.

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Source: US Government

This sets up the opportunity for the case to be revisited. Thomas’ use of criticism on Obergefell v. Hodges is not the first time that he attacks LGBTQ+ people. He has been a staunch critic of LGBTQ+ rights since voting against marriage equality, stating it would be disrespectful to religious liberty and demeaning to those voting for marriage be determined as marriages between a man and a woman. Thomas may be only one conservative, but by stating that Supreme Court justices do not need to follow precedents if they are “demonstrably incorrect” then the other conservatives on the Supreme Court may follow his lead.

Another matter to take into account is the Supreme Court refusing to hear another case on religious freedom versus marriage equality. Similar to the case last year about the Colorado baker refusing to make a cake for a gay couple on the grounds of religious liberty, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from an Oregon couple fined for refusing to serve a gay couple. By refusing to hear this case, the Supreme Court may appear to side with its precedent yet by declining it and making such a statement afterwards appears negative.

What is important is that there is a dialogue, and multiple social media users have expressed outrage, information, and dialogue on these issues so far.

Another user on Twitter comments on how members of the LGBTQ community may not have been focused on transgender legal issues in the past and now how the entire community may be facing legal attacks.

There is no need to panic yet about the Supreme Court outlawing abortion and gay marriage tomorrow, yet these are two sensitive issues that are more likely to be discussed and even challenged in the near future with the conservative Supreme Court justices.

Picture Source: 42 North

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Mia Boccher
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