First Roe, Then Obergefell? Far-Right Activists Are Eager to Turn Back the Clock

First Roe, Then Obergefell? Far-Right Activists Are Eager to Turn Back the Clock

“Next we go after Obergefell v Hodges and then the rulings banning Christianity from public schools,” white nationalist Vincent James told his followers on Telegram last Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a draft opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito indicated that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade

James was among a chorus of far-right and Christian nationalist activists looking forward to using the SCOTUS decision to implement their theocratic agenda. Not satisfied with simply removing the right to abortion protected in Roe, they’re eager to pass a total abortion ban, dismantle the right to same-sex marriage, and institute their ultraconservative version of Christianity on others. They see an ally in the Supreme Court, and there’s reason to believe that they’re right.

Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe explicitly criticizes both Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, and Lawrence v. Texas, which legalized same-sex relations. “None of these rights has any claim to being deeply rooted in history,” Alito wrote in the draft opinion. While the draft opinion stresses that the decision would only apply to abortion, Alito’s critique creates room for both cases to be attacked as well as a pathway by which they could be overturned. 

This wouldn’t be the first time Alito has leveled criticism at Obergefell, either. Clarence Thomas, writing for himself and Alito, blasted the 2015 decision in 2020, declaring, “Obergefell will continue to have ruinous consequences for religious liberty.” …

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