Democrat Lawmakers: Supreme Court Nominee Barrett Will Help to Overturn Same-Sex Marriage

October 6, 2020 Updated: October 6, 2020

Democrat lawmakers took to Twitter in reaction to the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s petition criticizing the Obergefell ruling on gay marriage, and to oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for what Democrats called the Republican agenda to end same-sex marriage.

Obergefell v. Hodges was decided in June 2015 and established same-sex marriage throughout the United States. The ruling required all states to recognize same-sex marriage as valid and to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Justice Clarence Thomas joined by Justice Alito wrote a petition Monday taking aim at Obergefell and suggesting that SCOTUS must overturn same-sex marriage in order to protect First Amendment rights.

“By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix. Until then, Obergefell will continue to have ‘ruinous consequences for religious liberty,’” Thomas wrote (pdf).

Since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and President Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court seat, Democrats have objected to Republican’s push to confirm Barrett before the election. They have called her nomination illegitimate and a power grab. In the latest attack on Barrett, they are telling their base that Barrett will join conservatives like Thomas to end same-sex marriage.

“The first term of the Supreme Court has just begun and already, conservative justices are threatening to overturn Obergefell. Marriage equality at risk, as are all LGBTQ+ rights if Trump’s nominee is confirmed. No confirmation until the inauguration,” wrote Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.).

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) wrote: “Alito and Thomas are already threatening to end marriage equality and limit LGBTQ+ rights. This is what’s at stake if extremist justices get a majority on the Supreme Court. They’re ready to overturn precedents and put an end to our constitutional rights.”

Democrats have also told voters that Barrett will allow conservatives on the bench to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and take away health coverage for those living with preexisting conditions. The Trump administration lawsuit to have the ACA repealed will be deliberated by the Supreme Court in November, but Trump has said he has no intention of taking away healthcare for those with preexisting conditions.

Other Democrats have voiced an objection to Barrett because of her potential ruling against Roe vs Wade, and a woman’s ability to choose to terminate her pregnancy.

One of Trump’s strongest opponents in the House of Representatives called out Thomas’ criticism of gay marriage and accused the president of “stacking the court” with Barrett’s nomination.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) wrote, “This is chilling. Two Supreme Court Justices made clear that they want to overturn marriage equality. America won’t go backwards. Trump’s effort to stack the court couldn’t be more insidious and the stakes couldn’t be higher. No confirmation before the inauguration.”

Reps. Alan Lowenthal (D-N.Y.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) both warned their constituents that “no precedent is safe” if Barrett is confirmed.

“Make no mistake—empowering the far-right on the Supreme Court is profoundly dangerous. No precedent is safe, from marriage equality to reproductive freedom to healthcare. Equality must remain the law of the land,” wrote Lowenthal.

“’It’s really a who decides question’—Amy Coney Barrett on Obergefell v. Hodges. This is what’s at stake. No precedent is safe,” wrote Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, told his followers that they must vote, writing: “The @GOP is coming for marriage equality and Amy Coney Barrett gives them that opportunity.”