Despite a fear-mongering chorus from media and the Left – most recently from Pete Buttigieg – about gay rights being on the Supreme Court’s chopping block if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the facts point in the opposite direction.
As Log Cabin Republicans President Charles Moran wrote last month in the New York Post debunking the Left’s talking points, “If we see a credible threat to marriage equality and other LGBT rights, we will fight it — but this isn’t it.”
It appears that the Los Angeles Times – by no means a conservative outlet – agrees. In a piece titled “Why LGBTQ rights may be secure despite the Supreme Court,” the Times concludes that, unlike with abortion, public opinion has shifted sharply in support of LGBT equality and the legal fight is settled:
The steady shift of public opinion on marriage equality differs sharply from public opinion on abortion. Despite some fluctuations from year to year, U.S. opinion on abortion has changed very little for decades: About 6 in 10 Americans support abortions being legal most of the time, but a majority also supports a range of restrictions, according to the Pew Research Center. About 4 in 10 think abortions should mostly be illegal, including just under 1 in 10 who want them banned entirely.
How might the the shifting in public opinion about LGBTQ rights affect the Supreme Court? A majority of the court may personally oppose Obergefell — three of the current justices dissented when the case was decided, and former President Trump‘s three appointees may all agree with those dissents — but public opinion does limit what the justices can do.
Most important, the high court can’t rule without a case.
The most natural way for a case to get to court would be for a state to pass a law limiting marriages by same-sex couples, much the way states have passed laws to limit abortions. A couple whose marriage was affected would sue, and the issue would work its way through the court system.
Right now, however, it’s hard to see what state legislature might want to start that fight. Unlike abortion, where a well organized movement spent much of the last half century building support for efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade, there’s not much political muscle seeking to reverse Obergefell.