I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.
Justice Samuel Alito dissenting, Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015).
Much could be–and has been–written about the cultural fall-out of Obergefell, and there is no sense replicating it here. All I can do is point to the prescient arguments made by the dissent, grasping at straws to preserve the freedoms of conscience and expression.
This week’s Constitutional Law class provided a ready example, anecdotally (and ironically) proving the justice’s point. As the Socratic method of instruction does, the class was asked to explain the Court’s ruling, explain the dissent’s opinion (four separate dissents, in this case), and then choose a side to argue. No one dared to acknowledge that the majority of the Court offered almost no rationale. And no one dared to acknowledge the rationale of the dissent, let alone advocate for it, even if they wanted to.
And for good reason. Despite the Court’s quaint hope that there would remain room for respectful disagreement, no such room exists. To publicly question or doubt the wisdom of same-sex marriage is to commit an unpardonable sin, worthy of the scarlet letter B.
Academia is not safe for dissent. The market is not open to dissent. And a future lawyer has no place to dissent, as even a profession that is built upon tradition, rational arguments, and vigorous dissent has adopted a self-limiting rule against dissent on this matter.
So here I sit, whispering from the recesses of my home, just as Justice Alito predicted.