If confirmed for a seat on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett is expected to rule in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

via Washington Post

Brian S. Brown, of National Organization for Marriage, is convinced that Amy Coney Barrett will overturn Obergefell v. Hodges but donations are necessary to make it happen. Brown idiotically calls the Obergefell ruling “illegitimate.”

Worrying about Obergefell in the abstract is pointless. Mr. Brown seems to think that the fact that the Catholic Church does not approve of marriage equality is sufficient for the Court to overturn the ruling. If there is some other reason for the Court to overturn a fairly recent decision, Brown fails to provide it.

In the final analysis Brian S. Brown wants the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that has produced no discernible harms and has wide popular support. I am not sure that the votes are there and I do not know what arguments would be launched in opposition to marriage equality.

What is of greater concern is the Court finding religious exceptions to otherwise valid nondiscrimination laws affecting public accommodations. The next Masterpiece Cakeshop could result in a win for Christian conservatives.

Justices Thomas and Alito made some disturbing comments earlier this month. Most telling was this from Thomas:

Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws.

People who defend religious dogma (which they hold as incontrovertible truth) are often nonsensical. What Thomas seems to be suggesting is that Obergefell affects nondiscrimination laws which is untrue. It is still legal in, say, Alabama to discriminate against gay couples.

Those states and subdivisions which do protect gay people from discrimination do not connect that discrimination to marriage per se. In Colorado, for example, it is illegal to refuse to serve an unmarried gay couple out on a date.

Justice Alito had a similar argument in his dissent in United States v. Windsor. He stated that people who did not approve of same-sex marriage would be thought of as “bigots or superstitious fools.” Maybe but so what? What bearing does that have on Equal Protection and Due Process for gay people?

What Alito and Thomas have both seeming done is to contrive a poorly reasoned excuse to obfuscate the fact that they want to frustrate marriage equality as a religious duty. The Church is arrogantly explicit in claiming that Catholic public servants have a “moral duty” to oppose same-sex marriage.

Another religious duty imposed upon obedient Catholics is opposition to nondiscrimination laws:

“Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter, no. 3) and evokes moral concern.

[…]

Including “homosexual orientation” among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action or preferential treatment in hiring practices. This is all the more deleterious since there is no right to homo- sexuality (cf. no. 10) which therefore should not form the basis for judicial claims.

The overwhelming majority of American Catholics reject this incoherent bigotry. However, Thomas, Alito and (presumptively) Barrett are religious extremists. So is Brian S. Brown.

Of more immediate concern

On November 4 the Court will hear oral argument in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. In that case, Catholic Charities is seeking the right to discriminate against gay couples in foster care contrary to local law and while performing services with taxpayer funds.

In no corner of my mind can I conjure up Barrett, Alito and Thomas not voting in favor of Catholic Charities. According to the teachings of the Church:

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral …

Needless to say “experience has” not shown that children raised or fostered by gay couples are in any way disadvantaged. Attempting to argue against Church doctrine with the likes of Alito, Barrett and Thomas is as futile as trying to convince them that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided.

How did we ever end up in a situation where the Catholic Church was the determining factor in establishing the law of the land? How did we ever become so backward that some justices of the Supreme Court are, in fact, “superstitious fools?”

Bottom line

  1. Brian S. Brown is full of crap.
  2. NOM has no effect on the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
  3. Unless Chuck Schumer can come up with a parliamentary maneuver, Barrett’s confirmation to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court is a foregone conclusion.
  4. Marriage equality is not in immediate peril.
  5. Nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people are ripe for religious exemptions.
  6. If Democrats take control of the Senate they can — and should — expand the Court.
  7. Expanding the Court would probably not affect matters before the Court in this term.

I wish that I had a more positive outlook. The only thing that we can do is to vote! The only way to mitigate any of this is to put Democrats in control of the presidency and both houses of Congress. Even then, we have an uphill battle against regressive forces.


These are not conservatives on the nation’s highest court
. These are religious conservatives who will rule according to their perceived religious obligations. It is an insult to the Establishment Clause. Yet, assuming that neither party will have a two-thirds majority in the Senate, impeachment is off the table.

What? You think that GOPers are going to become secular libertarians? If they lose control, the only way they come back to power is with the aid of the religious right to whom they pander incessantly.

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