Is Obergefeld next? The SCOTUS Decision and Same-Sex Marriage Rights

A Minnesota Estate Planning and Adoption Lawyer Warns of Future Supreme Court Decisions

The time for complacency is over.

In 2015, the US Supreme Court’s upheld same-sex marriage rights in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. After the decision, many gay and lesbian clients told me they no longer needed to use a lawyer to protect their families. I heard such things as:

  • We can marry, so we don’t need to sign an estate plan or get an adoption.
  • Marriage solves all of our problems.
  • We will just get married instead of doing an estate plan (true story).
  • My name is on our baby’s birth certificate, so I do not need to do an adoption (still hear this several times a month).

Today’s SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health should strike fear in the heart’s of all gay and lesbian families. What does the right to have an abortion have to do with gay marriage? According to Justice Clarence Thomas, all of these “rights” were given in error, just like abortion. And they should all be struck down. His exact words in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health are:

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote, referring to decisions on contraception, sodomy and same-sex marriage.

“Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ’correct the error’ established in those precedents,” Thomas added.

The three cases listed above involve  1) the right for a woman to contraception; 2) the right of members of the LGBTQ community to be free from sodomy laws; and 3) the right to same-sex marriage and the attending benefits.

I do not want to write about this today. Like many others, I am angry and saddened at what this decision portends for my future.

So, I am writing today to urge people to understand it is URGENT they take steps now to protect their unique families. This Court has clearly signaled its intent to strip all such rights as soon as the proper case appears before it. And given the signaling that Thomas just did, the case will now be fast-tracked right to them. Make no mistake, the cases have already been hand-picked to allow the court to overturn these precedents.

We may feel somewhat safe in the currently blue political climate in Minnesota. But, blue is hanging by a thread. We are only an election away from seeing these rights erode for us here. And we certainly cannot rely on other states to uphold or protect our relationships without the best legal documentation (marriage, estate plans, adoption) in place.

Minnesota Estate Planning and Adoption Attorney

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