Anti-gay activists have claimed that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down same-sex marriage bans in Obergefell v. Hodges will lead to a tidal wave of oppression and persecution — just as they did following the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009. Struggling to find the “victims” of gay marriage, Religious Right activists have pointed to a small handful of wedding cake bakers or photographers who were sued after denying service to gay couples.
One of these bakers, Jack Phillips, recently lost his appeal after he was found to be in violation of Colorado’s nondiscrimination law. After the courts ruled against Phillips for a second time, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Fox News pundit Todd Starnes linked the ruling to the Obgerefell decision, even though the lawsuit against the baker was filed prior to Obgerefell and even before Colorado legalized same-sex marriage (the couple was married in Massachusetts).
Alliance Defending Freedom’s Nicolle Martin, who is representing Phillips, appeared yesterday on Perkins’ radio show, where she spoke to guest host Craig James, another FRC official, about the case. (When Martin spoke to Perkins about the case last year, Perkins speculated that it could be a forerunner to an anti-Christian holocaust, asking when the government would “start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians.”)
When James asked Martin if Phillips would have “prevailed if the Supreme Court had not redefined marriage,” the attorney flatly answered, “No.”
“This court used decisions that predated Obgerefell,” she said, adding, “Obgerefell has nothing to do with the First Amendment and the right of all Americans to live and work according to their conscience, it has nothing to do with the Free Exercise Clause, it does not affect those fundamental rights, the pre-eminent civil rights laws of our nation, it doesn’t affect those laws in anyway.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom attorney’s statement pretty much rebuts the Religious Right’s favorite talking point about how the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling “abolished” the First Amendment.