“You can’t say that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry.” This is just a small sound bite from Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito during his virtual address to The Federalist Society’s 2020 National Lawyers Convention. The address was first streamed on YouTube on Thursday, November 12, 2020, at 9 p.m. ET.
Justice Alito’s views on marriage equality have been long established since his dissention on the case that made marriage between same-sex couples legal, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which Alito refers to in his address:
“I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”
Alito’s remarks come on the heels of the decision by Supreme Court Justices to not take up former Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ appeal in a lawsuit against her in which she refused to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple because it went against her religious beliefs. It was in a statement concerning this case, Justice Clarence Thomas, with Alito signing on in agreement, wrote, “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.”
During his address, Alito acknowledged people have the right to disagree with unpopular religious beliefs but questioned if society is “inclusive enough to tolerate people” with these beliefs. One of the examples Alito uses in unpopular religious beliefs is Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, and his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Alito asserted that Phillips denying to provide the couple with a wedding cake was part of his religious freedom.
Alito’s entire address can be viewed below.
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