by Frank Holmes, reporter
Five years ago, two Supreme Court justices warned that one of the court’s decisions was “potentially ruinous.” This week, they say, the chickens have come home to roost.
The alert came as the court refused to hear the case of Kim Davis, the clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, who spent five days in jail because she said her Christian beliefs wouldn’t let her sign marriage licenses for gay couples.
All nine justices agreed that Davis didn’t have legal standing to bring her case before the nation’s highest court—but conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito pointed the finger for her imprisonment squarely at the court’s liberal activists.
And they warned that if the Supreme Court doesn’t reverse or revise one of its landmark decisions, more conservative Christians could go to jail for their beliefs.
In 2015’s Obegefell v. Hodges case, the Supreme Court discovered a new constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Each of the court’s four conservative justices wrote a dissent, with Chief Justice John Roberts saying the ruling didn’t “provide even a single sentence” from the Constitution to make its case.
Aside from deforming the Constitution, the worst thing about the ruling is that it held “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty,” Clarence Thomas wrote.
On Monday, he wrote, “Those predictions did not take long to become reality.”
In 2015, Kim Davis heard about the ruling and knew that, as a county clerk, she would be forced to sign marriage licenses between couples of the same sex.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, knew her faith wouldn’t let her do that. “It is a heaven or hell decision,” she said. “I promised to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul because I wanted to make heaven my home,” Davis said.
She started contacting Kentucky legislators the day after the decision to ask for a religious exemption, but they all refused—so she stopped issuing marriage licenses to anyone.
Four couples sued, and she spent five days in jail in September 2015. She was also publicly humiliated, with late-night comedians mocking her looks, clothes, and her history of divorce.
Conservatives like Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz rallied to her defense, and even Pope Francis met with her and said that disobeying an order that violates your religious beliefs is “a right. And if a person does not allow others to be a conscientious objector, he denies a right.”
But five years later, Davis is still fighting for the courts to recognize her rights and clear her name.
“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 and Alito wrote in a four-page letter on Monday.
They said the court’s judicial activists rammed a new legal “right” down Americans’ throats in the Obergefell ruling without protecting real constitutional rights, like the freedom of religion.
“If the States had been allowed to resolve this question through legislation, they could have included accommodations for those who hold these religious beliefs,” the conservatives wrote this week. “The Court, however, bypassed that democratic process.”
Instead, the Court “forces that choice upon society through its creation of atextual constitutional rights”—that is, “rights” that aren’t in the Constitution—“and its ungenerous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, leaving those with religious objections in the lurch.”
Worse yet, the landmark 2015 case says that Christians are hate-filled bigots.
The original decision accuses Christians—or people of any traditional religious background—of “disparag[ing]” homosexuals, “impos[ing] stigma and injury,” “diminish[ing] their personhood,” and trying to “disrespect and subordinate” them by hurting their feelings and inflicting “[d]ignitary wounds.”
The only reason they oppose gay marriage is “animus,” or hatred of gays, the ruling stated.
“Obergefell was read to suggest that being a public official with traditional Christian values was legally tantamount to invidious discrimination toward homosexuals,” Thomas and Alito wrote. “This assessment flows directly from Obergefell’s language.”
“Since Obergefell,” they write, liberal politicians and the media “have continually attempted to libel people of good will as bigots merely for refusing to alter their religious beliefs in the wake of prevailing orthodoxy.”
The Supreme Court must change its ruling, at least to recognize that the majority of the world’s religions aren’t biased and motivated by hatred for upholding the traditional family.
“The Court has created a problem that only it can fix,” they write. “Until then, Obergefell will continue to have ‘ruinous consequences for religious liberty.’”
The problem is, John Roberts reversed his own vote on a pro-life law, because the majority voted against him. He’s unlikely to overturn a landmark ruling establishing gay marriage.
But confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett may just even the playing field—and keep people like Kim Davis out of prison for their beliefs.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”