Trump could reverse same-sex marriage, says plaintiff who helped legalise it

A plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s case on same-sex marriage has spoken out on what Justice Kennedy’s retirement means for the LGBTQ community.

Jim Obergefell, whose case led to legalised gay marriage in the US, told CNN’s ‘New Day’ that he’s worried the court will now reconsider the law.

“I don’t think the word ‘devastated’ is too strong of a word upon hearing this news. I’m actually feeling somewhat despondent about what this means for the LGBTQ community and marriage for millions of Americans,” Obergefell said.


Jim Obergefell, whose case led to legalised gay marriage in the US, told CNN’s ‘New Day’ that he’s worried the court will now reconsider the law. (Credit: CNN)

After the 2016 election President Donald Trump said cases like Obergefell’s were already closed by the Supreme Court, and he didn’t intend to change that.

But that didn’t put Obergefell at ease, who said: “I’m not sure I believe anything that comes out of the president’s mouth, because he says one thing one day and says the exact opposite the next day.”

US Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (R) and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (L) sit for an official photo with other members of the US Supreme Court (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

“I have to believe there are people behind pushing him that will force this issue and bring this back up for a vote or a hearing, and that really concerns me,” he added.

Obergefell was speaking to CNN in reaction to the Supreme Court’s leading champion of gay rights Kennedy retiring.  The former Justice will likely be replaced by a less LGBT-friendly candidate.

81-year-old Kennedy’s retirement will give President Trump the opportunity to change the direction of the Supreme Court.

US President Donald Trump (L) listens while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Kennedy, who was a Republican appointee, has been the swing vote on many key votes including being responsible for legalising same-sex marriage in the US.

Without Kennedy the court will be split between four liberal justices, appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives, named by Republicans.

Trump’s choice of successor is likely to give conservatives a solid majority, and will come from an updated list 25 of nominees that he put out during his campaign.

According to the Associated Press, the prominent names on the list are Judges Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and William Pryor of Alabama and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who serves on the federal appeals court in Washington.

During his 30-year-reign Kennedy was involved in the Court’s first major pro-gay rights decision.

In 1996’s Romer v. Evans, he invoked the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in striking down a Colorado state constitutional amendment that prevented cities and towns from adopting their own bans on discrimination against gays, lesbians, or bisexuals.