On the seven-year anniversary of the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, Jim Obergefell spoke to CNN’s Jim Acosta, and discussed the Court’s recent ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, specifically concerns that the case will lead to other cases being overturned.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which addressed a Mississippi law that prohibited almost all abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for medical emergencies and “severe fetal abnormality,” but not rape or incest.
The court addressed whether various provisions of the United States Constitution conferred a “implicit constitutional right” to abortion in its opinion, concluding that “[t]he Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that the Court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents,” citing Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Lawrence v. Texas (2003, right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts), and Obergefell.
These were “demonstrably erroneous decisions,” Thomas wrote, and the court had a “duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”
It should be noted that Thomas was not alone in holding this opinion; Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett all agreed with Thomas that Roe should be overturned, while Chief Justice John Roberts opposed overturning Roe but agreed with upholding Mississippi law.
Nonetheless, Thomas’ agreement was causing “growing alarm in the LGBTQ community,” according to Acosta on Sunday’s CNN Newsroom.
Acosta mentioned the anniversary of the Obergefell decision, played a video clip of President Barack Obama calling Obergefell to congratulate him on the court victory, and asked his guest for his reaction to the Dobbs decision.
“It’s been a terrible several days for our nation,” Obergefell responded.
Other rights, such as contraception and marriage, have been “targeted,” according to Thomas, and “that should terrify everyone in this nation.”
He went on to say that Dobbs was a “terrible decision.” He added: “We should be moving forward not backwards. And this court is taking us backwards, this extreme court is taking us backwards.”
Acosta remarked that Thomas failed to mention Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 case that declared laws prohibiting interracial marriage unconstitutional. Ginni Thomas, Thomas’ wife, is White and has been the subject of numerous reports about her communications with members of former President Donald Trump’s administration, members of Congress, and people involved in the organization of protests that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
“It’s a clear indication to me that if it’s a case that directly impacts him, it’s safe,” Obergefell said, “but if it’s a case that protects other people, other people who are unlike him, we’re not very safe.”
“The right to interracial marriage is only six years older than a woman’s right to abortion,” he pointed out. “Our nation has a much longer history of denying interracial marriage. Do we want to go back to the late 18th century, the originalist who’s saying we can only interpret the constitution as of the time it was written? When that constitution was written, ‘We, the People,’ did not include blacks, indigenous people, it did not include women, it did not include queer people. That is not a more perfect union.”