Rights group says ruling that legalized same-sex marriage is in peril

By The Star Staff

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case from a Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, but two of the justices used the opportunity to attack the 2015 court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

The two conservative justices said the ruling has had ruinous consequences for religious liberty.

The group LGBT Puerto Rico immediately responded that the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage was under attack.

The court declined to hear the case of Kim Davis, the former Rowan County clerk who was sued after she said her religious convictions kept her from recognizing same-sex marriages, even after the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to those unions in Obergefell v. Hodges. She had been jailed for refusing to issue gay marriage licenses at the time and her case had attracted national attention.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. said they agreed with the court’s decision not to hear Davis’s petition, but used the opportunity to oppose Obergefell v. Hodges. They noted that Davis was forced to choose between her religious beliefs and her job as a result of the court’s actions.

“Davis may have been one of the first victims of this court’s cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision, but she will not be the last,” Thomas wrote. “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 anti-discrimination laws.”

Thomas added “It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law. But it is quite another when the court forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights and its ungenerous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”

Still, Thomas and Alito said they agreed with the decision not to accept the case, because it did not present a clear-cut issue that could be decided.

The opinion comes a week after President Donald Trump appointed another conservative judge to the court, which some fear will reverse acquired rights.

LGBT Puerto Rico said the two justices’ remarks appear to be urging the court to reverse its prior ruling.

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