The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 24 that the Constitution “does not prohibit” states from banning abortion.
While on the face of things, one might not immediately see why LGBT people were deeply alarmed by the decision. But in a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas made sure that everyone knew that, with the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, the hourglass was being turned over for same-sex marriage and relationships.
Oddly, Thomas said he agreed with a statement in the majority decision (written by Samuel Alito) that “nothing in [the Dobbs opinionopinion] should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
“For that reason, in future cases,” wrote Thomas, “we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”
Lawrence struck down state bans against same-sex sexual relations; Obergefell struck state bans against marriage for same-sex couples, and Griswold struck bans against couples using contraceptives.
Jenny Pizer, senior legal counsel for Lambda Legal, called the 6 to 3 conservative majority “the most shockingly activist Court we have seen in any of our lifetimes.” The majority opinion in Dobbs overturned two major precedents: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The 1973 Roe decision said the Constitution implies that citizens have a right to privacy and liberty and that those rights cover the right to choose an abortion. The 1992 Planned Parenthood decision said states could regulate abortion once a fetus becomes viable as long as the regulations did not create an undue burden to women who seek an abortion.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter said the Dobbs decision put LGBT rights “on the chopping block” and that “we must turn to our local, state, and federal representatives to secure fundamental freedoms through legislation.”
“We are witnessing a full-scale assault on the rights of women and LGBTQ people,” said Minter, ‘and the moment to act is now.”