Marriage Equality Threatened By States, Possible Supreme Retirement


Dear Supremes, Stop, in the name of love. Marriage equality could be in jeopardy if Justice Kennedy retires next Summer.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their original Obergefell v. Hodges decision granting same sex couples the right to marriage, including the right to all benefits and privileges legally granted to straight couples. In this case, Pavan v. Smith, the high court ruled that Arkansas was wrong in its contention that Obergefell did not clearly require that gay married couples had the right to be included in the birth certificates of their children. Swing Justice Anthony Kennedy, again wrote the decision in favor of gay marriage rights.  

It is this swing vote that is now in jeopardy as their are growing indications that Kennedy may retire from the bench, even as soon as next Summer. If that happens, Trump would likely nominate another right wing extremist ala Justice Neil Gorsuch. This would likely be followed by another use of the nuclear option, allowing Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to force Trump’s candidate through without any of the customary and long-standing democratic processes of hearings and vetting.  

Conservative states are already hitting Obergefell hard from every angle, with the aim of gutting the decision and the eventual reversal of the ruling. Arkansas hit first, but Texas is now attempting to strike at marriage equality from another angle, claiming that Obergefell does not clearly mandate that states grant full benefits to married same sex couples. This Texan bad-faith attack is as murky as a Gulf of Mexico oil slick in that it completely ignores the Supreme Court’s mandate of equal treatment, including extension of full benefits. Texas also violates the US v. Windsor ruling, again written by swing voter Kennedy, which prohibits any degrading or demeaning of gay couples through laws or policies that separate or stigmatizes gay couples from all other couples.

Without Justice Kennedy, marriage equality would be in a very vulnerable position. Another far right justice would also imperil reproductive rights, gun regulation, voting redistricting, environmental protection, health care and more.

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