Supreme Court leak overturning abortion rights has Democrats concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be next

Supreme Court leak overturning abortion rights has Democrats concerned that same-sex marriage and civil rights could be next
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seen at Jacobi Hospital in the Morris Park neighborhood on June 03, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City.Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • The Supreme Court leak that appears to overturn abortion rights has Democrats concerned same-sex marriage is next.
  • A leaked draft, penned by Justice Samuel Alito, references the decision to legalize gay marriage.

Democratic lawmakers and constitutional scholars say the leaked Supreme Court decision that appears to overturn abortion rights could lead to overturning the right to same-sex marriage and other civil rights.

Part of the opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, explicitly references Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage, and Lawrence v. Texas, a decision that legalized sodomy.

In the leaked opinion, Alito says these decisions do not protect rights that are "deeply rooted in history."

"These attempts to justify abortion through appeals to a broader right to autonomy and to define one's 'concept of existence' prove too much," Alito wrote, claiming that the right to autonomy could "license fundamental rights to illicit drug use, prostitution, and the like."

Alito adds in the opinion that "the cases on which Roe and Casey rely" are safe because none "involved the critical moral question posed by abortion," meaning the decisions to allow same-sex and interracial marriage, the right to contraception, prohibiting sterilization without consent would not be affected, even if Roe v. Wade is overturned.


But by undermining the constitutional justification for abortion by targeting unenumerated rights — constitutional rights that aren't explicit in the text but are implied — Democrats say the nation's highest court is setting up future legal fights to roll back other long-held constitutional rights.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she believes the Supreme Court "isn't just coming for abortion - they're coming for the right to privacy Roe rests on, which includes gay marriage + civil rights."

Rep. Ilhan Omar called to "expand the court" after the leaked decision made headlines, saying the current Supreme Court justices will "not stop here."

The leaked draft appears to show that the conservative-majority Supreme Court is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that allowed women the right to an abortion.

The opinion states Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start."


"We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled," the draft opinion says, labeled as the "Opinion of the Court," per Politico.

"It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives," it continues.

The leak is not the final language of the ruling nor the final vote. The actual decision from the court on this major abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is expected to be handed down by the end of June.

Legal scholar Laurence Tribe echoed Ocasio-Cortez's statement noting "predictable next steps" if the leaked opinion officially becomes law.

"A nationwide abortion ban, followed by a push to roll back rights to contraception, same-sex marriage, sexual privacy, and the full array of textually unenumerated rights long taken for granted," Tribe tweeted.