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Is same-sex marriage or birth control in danger after U.S. Supreme Court ruling on abortion?

Roe Dobbs Rally Statehouse THEY WONT STOP AT ROE sign 062422 - CHOW.jpg
Andy Chow
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A protester holds a sign at a protest at the Ohio Statehouse on Friday, June 24, 2022, a few hours after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health, overturning the Roe v. Wade decision establishing a constitutional right to an abortion in 1973.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down constitutional protections for abortion is raising questions about the future of other rights established with court precedent, especially for advocates for same-sex relationships and for use of contraceptives.

Justice Clarence Thomas, one of the conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote an opinion which said the court should reconsider precedents in specific cases involving same-sex marriage and access to birth control.

Marc Spindelman, Ohio State University law professor, said the majority opinion clearly stated that nothing in it should be understood to cast doubt on precedents not concerning abortion. But Spindelman said he sees something critical in the ruling for people who are concerned about it.

“While right now the opinion is saying these questions are settled and nothing that we're doing means to raise a doubt, it's important potentially for people to be engaging politically and resolidifying, reaffirming those rights," Spindelman said in an interview for "The State of Ohio."

Spindelman also noted no other justice joined Thomas in that opinion, and the differences in the opinions show constitutional interpretation is deeply contested — even among the justices.

"These are part of the ongoing national conversation about what our fundamental charter as a people means. And it's not surprising that there are deep disagreements between and among the justices and that many people see decisions that — from one point of view — can be lined up neatly. From another point of view like they can be lined up or they don't make sense except perhaps as an expression of certain kinds of political or exercises of judicial power," Spindelman said.

The 2015 same-sex marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was won by Jim Obergefell as he sued Ohio Department of Health Director Rick Hodges for the right to have his name listed as his husband's surviving spouse. Obergefell filed the cause because Ohio's constitution declared same-sex marriage illegal in 2004.

Obergefell is now running as a Democrat for the Ohio House. He said he’s concerned if one right that’s been relied on has been lost, other rights are at risk.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.
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