Same-Sex Marriage Is Vulnerable Thanks to Supreme Court
This article is part of The D.C. Brief, TIME’s politics newsletter. Sign up HereGet stories such as this delivered to your email inbox
In the chaotic hours and days after a six-person Supreme Court majority essentially ended the federal right to abortion in the United States, it was easy to rush past the dissent issued by the bench’s liberal trio. In their blistering argument about the half-century of precedent that was imploding, they also warned of what else might collapse in the coming years quicker than a child’s wooden toy set.
“Faced with all these connections between Roe/ Casey and judicial decisions recognizing other constitutional rights, the majority tells everyone not to worry,” the minority bloc wrote. “It can (so it says) neatly extract the right to choose from the constitutional edifice without affecting any associated rights. Imagine someone telling you the Jenga Tower will not crumble.)”
In other words, liberals have every right to be concerned about the immediate effects of the DobbsIt is not necessary to be concerned about whether the rights of contraception, marriage and sexual choice are becoming more vulnerable. Among D.C.’s gay operative class, there’s the quiet resignation that the right to wed is likely to be on the docket in the next five years, and there’s not a whole lot protecting it. Listen to the majority in all circumstances. Everything will work out fine Because it most likely won’t. Popularity can’t beat gravity. Blindly believing that the Jenga Blocks will defy instability is a wise decision is rarely wise.
The Supreme Court closed a half-century of litigation. Roe’s rights, it did so over the objections of a majority of Americans. Polling ahead of the expected ruling excoriating abortion rights—there was the leaked draft, after all—showed a majority of Americans (55%) considered themselves “pro-choice.” Among self-described independents, 57% self-described as “pro-choice.” A paltry 13% of all Americans told Gallup pollsters that abortion should be made illegal. 77% of Republicans are in favor of abortion rights with some limitations.
This meant that it was generally assumed that abortion rights will be around forever. The Supreme Court nominees had stated, consistent with their convictions. RoeWas settled. Alerts RoeCandidates, activists and other outsiders dismissed the notion that a woman was in imminent danger as paranoia. The abortion was considered a part of American life. It was an option available to pregnant women who could, in general, exercise their rights. Judges regularly ruled that any attempt by the state to limit these rights was illegal. They won’t touch RoeThat was the implicit thought of a lot voters. However, Presidents Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton were interested in nominating judges.
Then the so-called unthinkable happened, and the anti-abortion crowd landed the win they’ve been chasing for decades. In just one Supreme Court term, a 49-year-old precedent was struck down. The question is: What rights might be lost under this similar logic?
In recent weeks, Congress has taken steps to strengthen the rights to interracial and same-sex marriage. Surprisingly, 47 Republicans voted for the Respect for Marriage Act. This Act protects the rights of all couples to marry. Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth is trying to round up 10 Republican Senators to join a unified Democratic caucus to protect marriage, and she’s about halfway there.
Just eight Republicans had been present in the House Democrats’ passage of a bill that would have protected contraception. The majority of the eight aren’t planning to go back to Congress next year. This indicates that their party sees the issue as an unimportant matter. It was blocked by Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa.
This isn’t another sign of how polarized America is. This is a sign of an outof-touch Opposition, according to the numbers. A sky-high 92% of Americans support contraception, according to Gallup, and 88% of Republicans say it’s an acceptable moral choice. The question of marriage is answered by 71% Americans, an impressive shift after the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that made this right universal. There’s little downside, even for Republicans; a full 55% of Republicans now back those rights.
Washington, DC – The Republican Leadership has cast the votes to approve contraception as well as same-sex marriage in Washington. This is backdoor effort by Democrats to peel away from DobbsThis gave rank-and-file Republicans an excuse for standing against an election-year stunt that was unnecessary and meant to inflame paranoia. That gave members a little cover, although it’ll look pretty flimsy if the worst predictions come to pass.
Is it hypocrisy? Or is it pure hypocrisy? It’s easy to make that charge, although it doesn’t carry the sting it once did. After all, Republican Rep. Glenn Thompson voted against buttressing marriage rights earlier this month, and three days later attended the wedding of his gay son; he isn’t likely to suffer any real consequences outside of family reunions. What about the religious faiths that are opposed? It isn’t, as the polling indicates: Catholic majorities support same-sex marital rights since 2011, even though some of their leaders disagreed. Protestants reached that conclusion in 2017. It is now a distant memory of its glory days.
Politicians are often entangled in the power race. Going wobbly on something like abortion or LGBT rights can spiral in the hands of the right cynic who can link it to the GOP’s ongoing culture wars about parental rights and transgender student athletes. It’s not that there are many single-issue voters on those topics, but votes supporting the rights of pregnant individuals or gay Couples may be used as a proxy for character and morals—and Washington overreach. And in a party still helmed by ex-President Donald Trump, showing weakness is a cardinal sin, and thwarting Democrats’ agenda is meritorious on its surface.
If there is a fall Roe taught a whole lot of Americans anything, it is this: assuming something dating back a half century is durable is a sucker’s bet. With the right mix of imagination and ideology, basic human rights can be negotiable. If presented with an original argument, the Supreme Court and its life-long appointees can make very few things permanent. The Justices make decisions based on the beliefs they hold, so polling does not provide any protections. The conservative Justices will suffer very little. It is clear that the three Court liberals understood this and warned about what’s next. It is now up to the Court to decide which block of this Jenga game will be next.
Washington is the place to be. Register for D.C. Brief Newsletter.
Read More From Time