Clarence Thomas: ‘Decision Threatens the Religious Liberty Our Nation Has Long Sought to Protect’

In his dissent from the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that same-sex marriage is a right, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the court’s “decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.”

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees “the free exercise” of religion—which is not confined to “worship” that takes place within a religious building, but engages all aspects of a person’s life.

“Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect,” Thomas said in his dissent.

“In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well,” said Thomas. “Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.

“The majority appears unmoved by that inevitability,” Thomas concluded.