Fox News’ Shannon Bream downplays Supreme Court’s threat to same-sex marriage
With likely new conservative court tilt, anti-LGBTQ groups call for reconsideration of Obergefell v. Hodges
Fox News chief legal correspondent Shannon Bream -- part of the network’s purported “news” side -- downplayed the threat of a far-right Supreme Court to same-sex marriage, saying that no one is “calling at the court to overturn same-sex marriage” even though some influential anti-LGBTQ figures have done just that and President Donald Trump has promised to nominate judges who may overturn the court’s decision.
On the first day of the Supreme Court’s 2020-2021 term, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito indicated that the court should “fix” its decision in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Thomas issued a statement that was joined by Alito claiming that the decision had “ruinous consequences for religious liberty.” They wrote, “By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the Court has created a problem that only it can fix.”
Extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) -- which has argued against LGBTQ rights before the Supreme Court -- praised the statement, calling it an “important truth.” ADF is currently asking the court to consider taking up its case representing a Washington florist who refused to serve a same-sex couple.
The justices’ statement should come as no surprise, given that members of the right have indicated for years that they wanted to overturn Obergefell. In 2016, The Washington Post reported that then-candidate Donald Trump said of the same-sex marriage decision: “If I'm elected, I would be very strong in putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things."
Anti-LGBTQ group Liberty Counsel, which brought the case in which Thomas and Alito made their comments on Obergefell, responded to the comments by saying that the justices had appeared “to invite future challenges to the 2015 Obergefell marriage case.” The group continued, “Depending on how the case finally concludes at the lower court, Liberty Counsel will then file a petition to present the opportunity for the Supreme Court to address Obergefell.”
Additionally, National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown -- who is cozy with right-wing world leaders -- has said for years that his group would overturn same-sex marriage after Obergefell, and his group was key in working against same-sex marriage before it was legalized across the country. Brown has specifically urged Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation in order to overturn Obergefell:
For many months, NOM has pointed out that we are approaching – if not already at – the point where the Supreme Court’s illegitimate, anti-constitutional imposition of gay ‘marriage’ on the nation in the Obergefell ruling could be reversed. Now two Supreme Court justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, have given voice to that very point. Make no mistake about it – the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is essential to our continuing efforts to overturn Obergefell and restore marriage to our nation’s laws.
Despite enough evidence to the contrary, Bream downplayed the threat Barrett’s confirmation poses to LGBTQ rights and to marriage equality, saying, “There's no one calling at the court for overturning same-sex marriage.”
The rights of LGBTQ Americans are just some of the many issues at stake with a far-right ideological lurch on the Supreme Court. Bream has similarly downplayed the court's risk to the Affordable Care Act.