Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) introduced with other openly gay members of Congress on Friday a resolution condemning U.S. Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito for declaring war on same-sex marriage in a recent statement.
The four-page resolution asserts the U.S House “strongly opposes Justice Thomas and Justice Alito’s statement” and “recognizes that all Americans should be treated fairly and equally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The resolution also hints at support for the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to expand its prohibition on anti-LGBTQ discrimination, asserting the House “acknowledges the need for express legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people.”
Pappas, who introduced the non-binding resolution on behalf of his 96 Democratic colleagues, said in a statement Thomas and Alito delivered “an insult to the more than 500,000 loving same-sex couples that have finally been able to have their unions recognized under the law.”
“As the balance of the court shifts, we must fight to ensure that our country does not go backward on fundamental equality,” Pappas said. “It is essential we affirm our commitment to the rights of all our citizens, regardless of who they love.”
Thomas and Alito issued the statement in response to the Supreme Court denying it would hear a case brought by Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses after the landmark ruling in 2015 for marriage equality, just before the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.
Barrett’s confirmation solidified a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, raising fears LGBTQ rights like same-sex marriage would be in danger, and bolstering calls upon the election of Joe Biden as president to expand the court with Democratic-appointed justices, otherwise known as “court packing.”
David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the most senior openly gay member of the House, joined Pappas in introducing the resolution and echoed fears Barrett’s confirmation would lead to harm for LGBTQ people.
“Five years ago, the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land,” Cicilline said. “Today, with Justice Barrett joining the bench, this progress is under threat. We cannot allow our country to move backwards. I am proud to stand with my colleagues on this important issue and to continue fighting for full LGBTQ+ equality.”
Pappas issues the resolution as he faces stiff competition for his congressional seat from Republican Matt Mowers, who criticized Pappas during a recent debate for dating an Amazon lobbyist and not disclosing that to the public. Although Pappas initially denied the charge, he later conceded the relationship, but said he was dating an ex-lobbyist and received no gifts from him.
Congressional ethics experts told the Washington Blade members of Congress are required to make disclosure about their spouses, but not the people they date. Pappas’ campaign and the LGBTQ Victory Fund said the Mowers charge reeks of homophobia.