BOB ABERNETHY, host: Now the Supreme Court’s historic decisions. Legal affairs correspondent Tim O’Brien is here.
TIM O’BRIEN, contributing correspondent: Bob, we had some very big ones this week, including the proverbial blockbuster on Friday (June 26), the Supreme Court upholding same-sex marriage, essentially saying all states must allow same-sex marriage and recognize those marriages performed in other states. The decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, and he relies a lot on the liberty clause of the Constitution which says that no person should be denied liberty without due process of law. Kennedy essentially saying that if liberty doesn’t include the right to choose who your lifelong partner is going to be, and have that relationship recognized as a marriage, then what does it mean? It’s a huge decision. This decision is for gays and lesbians what Brown v Board of Education was for African Americans. It was not unanimous. Chief Justice John Roberts and three others dissented, Roberts saying, “Look, if you favor same-sex marriage, go ahead and celebrate this great victory, celebrate this decision. But don’t celebrate the Constitution. This has nothing to do with the Constitution.”
ABERNETHY: Tim, suppose, imagine a church or pastor or just any person of faith who objects to gay marriage. Where are they left to?
O’BRIEN: It’s a very important question. The Court did address that in the opinion. It says you have the right to object, you have the right to oppose it. Pastors don’t have to perform same-sex marriages. Churches don’t. The decision is directed at the state. It’s the state that must recognize same-sex marriage.
ABERNETHY: And recognize means?
O’BRIEN: They must allow it, and they must recognize and honor those marriages, same-sex marriages, performed in other states.
ABERNETHY: Yeah. Earlier there was another big case, the Affordable Care Act.
O’BRIEN: Obamacare. The Supreme Court upheld that. Another very controversial ruling. That law had a provision that said all the subsidies, Obamacare subsidies, must be funneled through exchanges by the state, and most states don’t have those exchanges. There was a real challenge there that that would undermine--the whole law would unravel. And the Supreme Court said, “Looking at this statute in its entirety, well, that specific line is very clear. The statute in its entirety has ambiguities left and right. We’re going to interpret it in a way that we think Congress intended. And Congress intended for this to allow these subsidies to go forward.”
ABERNETHY: Yeah. And quickly, Tim, other things coming along?
O’BRIEN: There’s more to come: an important environmental case and a major death penalty case on lethal injections, all due on Monday (June 29).
ABERNETHY: Tim O’Brien, many thanks.