U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said Monday, Feb. 9, that seven of his eight colleages on the nation’s highest court erred on Monday when they chose not to extend the stay on a trial court ruling striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage, since the Supreme Court has yet to rule on four marriage equality cases it has agreed to hear. Justice Thomas also indicated that in refusing to extend the stay, the justices gave a pretty clear indication just how they rule in those cases when the time comes.
On Tuesday, Feb. 10, President Barack Obama told BuzzFeed News that he, too, believes the Supreme Court’s direction on marriage equality is pretty obvious.
“My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system,” Obama told BuzzFeed. “It’s time to recognize that under the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”
Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has basically told probate judges (the ones in Alabama who issue marriage licenses) not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they don’t have to listen to the U.S. Supreme Court because he is against marriage equality.
But President Obama noted that Moore is just going to have to face facts and get out of the way. “When federal law is in conflict with state law, federal law wins out,” the president said.
The president also took the opportunity of the BuzzFeed interview to suggest that his former advisor, David Axelrod, is “mixing up” his personal feelings with his position on the issue of same-sex marriage in Axelrod’s recently published book, in which Axelrod says that Obama supported same-sex marriage long before making his support public in May 2012, just before he was elected to his second term, but that Obama lied about his feelings on marriage equality due to political concerns.
Obama told BuzzFeed, “I always felt that same-sex couples should be able to enjoy the same rights, legally, as anybody else, and so it was frustrating to me not to, I think, be able to square that with what were a whole bunch of religious sensitivities out there. So my thinking at the time was that civil unions — which I always supported — was a sufficient way of squaring the circle.”