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Some fear for future of same-sex marriage after overturning of Roe v. Wade

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 27, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Supreme Court's ruling giving power over abortion rights to states has led to concerns about other constitutional rights being in jeopardy, including same-sex marriage.

Across a rainbow intersection and underneath a pride flag sits an LGBTQ-focused theater in the heart of Scott's Addition — The Richmond Triangle Players.

“I’d like to think that the stories we've been telling here for 30 years have helped Richmond become a more open and more welcoming and a more inclusive place," said the theater's executive director, Philip Crosby.

While Crosby said the shows that play out on the pink stage have brought entertainment and joy to the community, some members of the audience currently feel anything but.

“I think there's concern at this point," Crosby said.

That concern stemmed from an opinion issued by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after rulings that would allow states to ban abortions.

In it, Thomas suggested the court could take another look at decisions regarding other key issues including protections for same-sex marriage and relationships.

“We've seen this before, and we're going to see it again," Crosby said. "So I guess the point being, I'm sorry if we have to fight that fight again.”

University of Virginia law professor, Naomi Cahn, said the impact of Thomas' opinion remains unclear.

“I think it's very hard to say," Cahn said.

However, she emphasized several points that add extra security to the rights in question.

First, Thomas only issued the opinion on behalf of himself, and no other judge joined his concurrence.

"I mean, often when a justice writes a concurrence, other justices will join," she said.

Also, the majority opinion, penned by Justice Samuel Alito, distinguished a unique difference between abortion rights and other freedoms, because abortion deals with the termination of potential life.

“I think there has been a concern that the reasoning that was used in the majority could be used when it comes to other well-established rights," Cahn said. "His opinion has language in several different places, saying that in overruling Roe, that does not mean that other freedoms are also going to be restricted. He says that abortion is a unique act, unlike, for example, the right to contraception and unlike the right to same-sex sexual conduct."

Meanwhile, Crosby encouraged Virginians to use the recent ruling to advocate for changes they'd like to see at the state level.

“Now that the decisions are back to the states, we have to make sure that we have a legislature in Virginia that is going to support what you want to have done," he said.

Same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Virginia in 2014.

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