Black Justice Catches Most Heat For Marriage Equality Threat — Why?
Clarence Thomas getting lion’s share of criticism for marriage equality dig
People gathered at picturesque venues for beautiful weddings was a given. Dick and Jane or Adam and Steve must downsize ceremonies or go virtual. But, Adam and Steve or Lindsey and Yolanda could lose the right to marry. Marriage equality faces a veiled threat from U.S. Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
Threat to religious liberty
Alito and Clarence Thomas dropped a judicial bombshell this week. While the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear former Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis’ case, Alito and Thomas decried the Obergefell decision, which made marriage equality the law of the land in 2015, in an unusual joint statement.
Alito and Thomas claim Obergefell v. Hodges infringes upon Americans’ religious liberty. And, only the court can remedy this fundamental problem.
“[The decision] enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss,” Thomas wrote on his and Alito’s behalf.
Marriage equality potentially in peril
Given Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s determination to seat late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s successor, nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation seems like a foregone conclusion. The LGBTQ+ community’s collective wailing and gnashing of teeth isn’t a melodramatic exercise.
Some White gay siblings, however, think lowkey racism is a permissible response to Alito and Thomas. If you didn’t know Thomas’ wife is White, now, you do. A chorus of, “Let’s make his marriage illegal and see how he likes it!”, has been ringing out in mainstream LGBTQ+ publication comment sections.
Racist tropes aren’t necessary
Declaring that any Black person — no matter how reprehensible — be stripped of their rights as punishment is racist. Thomas isn’t exercising this power this way because he’s Black. He exercises his power this way because being the conservatives’ Black friend is more important to him than allowing everyone to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
LGBTQ+ people aren’t Thomas’ sole victims. He participated in making it harder for Black people without his power and position to vote. The Supreme Court just decided that transgender employees shouldn’t endure discrimination. In other words, marriage equality isn’t the only thing at stake.
Learn to walk & chew gum
A largely White marriage equality coalition, though, continues to act like it. This Black gay man doesn’t deny the importance of marriage equality. Any lectures will fall on deaf ears. Here’s an invitation to educate yourself on the other issues facing our community — and learn to multitask. The Trump administration has its sights set on everyone oppressed.
We can’t afford to let racist tropes to divide in this moment in time. Now is not the time for non-Black LGBTQ+ people to factor Thomas’ race into this oppressive calculus. Interestingly, no one is reminding Alito that Italian immigrants once faced discrimination.
Everyone deserves equality
Again, he’s hasn’t used his power to aid and abet oppressors because he’s Black. Thomas has so benefited from White privilege by osmosis that he’s deluded himself into believing either racism doesn’t exist or he’s immune.
Even if Lerone Bennett himself rose from the dead to remind Thomas of some Black history, it would do no good. With that said, throwing Black people current and past oppression in their face does nothing to further the argument for equality. Every American deserves to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the only argument.