Lawyer course

Maine lawyer who won same-sex marriage rights says move safe despite threat after Roe

The Maine lawyer who successfully argued for the right of same-sex couples to marry in the US Supreme Court in 2015 says the decision was properly made despite Justice Clarence Thomas saying the opposite at the end of last month when the court struck down the right to abortion.

Despite expected legal challenges, that and other civil rights the court has already ruled on should be guaranteed, Mary Bonauto said, and advocates like her are ready to fight those challenges.

Bonauto, who is the director of the Portland-based Civil Rights Project of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, known as GLAD, was one of three attorneys who argued on behalf of plaintiffs in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

The court made it clear in that case that “closing down an institution as profoundly important as marriage, in terms of people’s ability to protect themselves and their families, would violate the covenant of equal protection enshrined in the Constitution,” it said. she declared.

His remarks in an interview with the Bangor Daily News came a week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that guaranteed the federal right to abortion, in a 6-3 decision. Judge Samuel Alito declared it “manifestly false” in his majority opinion.

In a concurring opinion, Thomas argued that the Supreme Court should also revisit three other monumental civil rights cases, including Obergefell.

“We should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold [v. Connecticut]Lawrence [v. Texas], and Oberfelfell,” wrote Thomas. “After reversing these blatantly erroneous rulings, the question remains whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad of rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

Griswold and Lawrence guaranteed the right to use contraceptives and engage in same-sex relationships under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, respectively. Thomas took majority opposition to Lawrence and Obergefell when the court ruled on them in 2003 and 2015, respectively.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that there are people in the country who would like to reverse these things,” Bonauto said, adding that Roe’s cancellation established a “framework” for some people to challenge. existing legal protections.

But while she expects legal challenges, Bonauto pointed to the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment, which the United States ratified after the Civil War, as proof that the right to use contraceptives and rights to same-sex marriage and same-sex intimacy were sound.

“The idea is, as in the Declaration of Independence, that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she said.

“The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment were really trying to say, ‘Those were big aspirations and we didn’t. We failed and we had a civil war. And now we have to restore this idea that everyone here has basic rights.'”

Furthermore, she says, even rights that are not specifically stated in the Constitution are valid.

To overthrow Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell would upset the guarantee that all Americans have the right to freedom and force those affected into a sort of second-class citizenship, Bonauto said.

Furthermore, it would affect other freedoms such as interracial marriage, the right of parents to direct the upbringing and care of their children, and the physical integrity of persons, such as their right not to be sterilized for committing misdemeanor, she said.

“You can’t just say, ‘Everyone is qualified except these people,'” Bonauto said. “We are right. And we are not going back. We are very prepared to fight.