A blistering dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas to a 7-2 Supreme Court decision not to delay same-sex marriage in Alabama offers the strongest signal yet that gay rights advocates are likely to prevail when the marriage issue is considered by the court this spring, reports the New York Times. Thomas criticized his fellow justices for looking “the other way” as another federal court pushes aside state laws, rather than taking the customary course of leaving the laws in place until the court addresses larger constitutional issues.
In dissenting from the unsigned order in the Alabama case, Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, suggested that the court was poised to establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, a question the court ducked in a pair of decisions in 2013. Thomas accused the majority of an “indecorous” and “cavalier” attitude in refusing to maintain the status quo in Alabama until the coming Supreme Court decision. “This acquiescence,” Thomas added in a telling passage, “may well be seen as a signal of the court's intended resolution of that question.”