(Terrence P. Jeffrey – CNSNews) – In his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Clarence Thomas predicted that the court’s declaration that same-sex marriage is a right would ultimately lead to conflict between that purported right and religious liberty.
In his concurring opinion today in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Thomas concludes: “This case proves that the conflict has already emerged.”
In Obergefell, decided by a 5-4 vote in 2015, the Supreme Court declared that the 14th Amendment creates a right for people of the same sex to marry one another.
“The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built,” Thomas wrote in his dissent in Obergefell. “Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits. The Framers created our Constitution to preserve that understanding of liberty.
“Yet the majority invokes our Constitution in the name of a ‘liberty’ that the Framers would not have recognized, to the detriment of the liberty they sought to protect,” Thomas continued. “Along the way, it rejects the idea—captured in our Declaration of Independence—that human dignity is innate and suggests instead that it comes from the government. This distortion of our Constitution not only ignores the text, it inverts the relationship between the individual and the state in our Republic. I cannot agree with it.”
In his Obergefell dissent, Thomas went on to warn:
“In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.”