Religious freedom concerns were expressed at the Court even before the ruling was issued in 2015.
During oral arguments in Obergefell, Justice Antonin Scalia asked the Solicitor General Donald Verilli if religious colleges could lose their tax-exempt status for objecting to the redefinition of marriage, if the court recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Verilli later said that "it's certainly going to be an issue."
After the ruling, U.S. bishops and their lawyers warned that it insufficiently guaranteed the religious freedom of those objecting to the redefinition of marriage.
The decision "makes a nod in the direction of religious liberty but not enough of one," the USCCB's then-religious liberty committee chair Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore told EWTN News Nightly.
It failed to define the free exercise of religion as something practiced while "interacting with the broader society"-thus opening the door to litigation against religious believers who object to the redefinition of marriage while in public settings, the archbishop said.
The courts are already showing hostility to some religious believers, Thomas and Alito wrote in their opinion, pointing to the concurrence of one Sixth Circuit judge in Davis' case who sincerely held religious beliefs as 'anti-homosexual animus.'"
Davis, the justices said, was forced to choose between her religious beliefs on marriage and upholding the law as a public official, as a result of Obergefell.
"Davis may have been one of the first victims of this Court's cavalier treatment of religion in its Obergefell decision, but she will not be the last," the justices wrote.
"Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws."
Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. bishops conference, said in 2015 that litigation could occur as a result of Obergefell, that could affect the tax-exempt status of religious non-profits, as well as employee benefits, employment, and school accreditation.
"We've seen already many of these disputes emerge in states that have already recognized same-sex marriage. We've seen them in states that have aggressive sexual orientation, gender identity, and anti-discrimination laws," he said.
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