Ominous development in a U.S. Supreme Court decision today.


The court refused to take up an appeal from Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to do her legal duty by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was jailed briefly for contempt of court.

The court was messy legally and the refusal to hear the case still presented bad news for supporters of marriage equality.


Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito filed an unusual comment in whcy they continued to argue the same-sex marriage case was wrongly decided. They adopted a popular theme of the hard-core religious right: That extension of rights to same-sex couples is somehow an infringement on THEIR religious freedom.

To me, it’s kind of like abortion. If you don’t believe in abortion, don’t get one. If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, marry someone of the opposite gender. But stay the heck out of my life.


The Washington Post has details:

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 occasion to renew their objections.

“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 continued: “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.”

Commentators wonder if Thomas and Alito would raise the same religious infringement argument to defend a county clerk whose religion wouldn’t allow her to issue a marriage license to a couple of different races.

Given a “clean” legal argument, you also have to wonder if Thomas and Alito plus Kavanaugh and Gorsuch and Barrett could end same-sex marriage as a national right and allow other forms of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation. They’d certainly be cheered by the Republican majority in the Arkansas legislature.