Concerns grow about same-sex marriage, contraception after overturning of Roe v. Wade

With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, what could be next? Concerns are growing that same-sex marriage and contraception could be in jeopardy.
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, what could be next? Concerns are growing that same-sex marriage and contraception could be in jeopardy.

Western Mass News spoke with a constitutional and family law professor from Western New England University who said this issue is very complicated and complex, but the Supreme Court taking up these issues is not necessarily out of the question.

Right after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, social media erupted with people questioning if the Supreme Court would go after their other rights such as same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, or even birth control.

“I have a feeling that every single right for women is just going to keep getting taken away until we have nothing left,” Avril Willemain of Chester told us. “It scares me for my own children.”

Their fears might be rooted in an opinion released by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In it, he pushed the courts and legislators to reconsider other cases that protect same-sex marriage and contraception.

Some people believe that that is only the opinion of one Supreme Court justice and the decision on Roe v. Wade will not lead to the overturning of other cases.

“I don’t believe that,” said Paul Porter of Plymouth. “I think they were pretty clear, with the exception of Clarence Thomas. I think they were pretty clear. Alito, especially, and Cavanaugh, that those are separate issues that aren’t and shouldn’t be tied to the overturn of Roe v. Wade.”

We took these questions to Constitutional Law Professor Jennifer Levi. She explained that the majority decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, very specifically, only applied to abortion.

“The majority says the opinion just applies to the abortion context,” Professor Levi told us. “I take the majority at its word, in terms of what the actual impact is of this decision.”

However, the decree, which was written by the three justices who voted against overturning the 50-year-old case, suggests that the right side of the court may consider going further.

“There’s nothing in the majority’s analysis that limits its application to the area of abortion,” Professor Levi said.

Now, Professor Levi pointed out that the Supreme Court does not make law. However, Thomas’ opinion invites legislators to make laws regarding these issues, which may be challenged and eventually brought in front of the Supreme Court.

“Legislatures have already tried to, for example, reinstitute bans on contraceptive use. There have been politicians in other states who have said that they want to reverse protections for marriage equality, same-sex couples,” Professor Levi said. “What Justice Thomas says is that there are no protections in the constitution for fundamental rights beyond those that are specifically named.”

In other words, it is hard to say if it is ever a possibility, but Professor Levi said she understands why people may be concerned after hearing Thomas’ opinion. She added that the three justices that voted against the Roe v. Wade decision are also concerned for similar reasons.