In May 2015, the Council for National Policy, an elite organization of conservative leaders, held a strategy session at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The mood among conservatives was bleak. A month later, the Supreme Court would decide the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which would establish equal access to marriage as a constitutional right. “I don’t think anybody has an idea of the magnitude of what’s coming,” warned Kelly Shackelford, a lawyer from Texas and the founding president of the First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit legal firm well-known in Christian-right legal circles. He co-authored an op-ed in 2015 that characterized laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination as just “another route for suing Christians.” An unfavorable ruling in Obergefell, Shackelford suggested that day, “is going to be a direct attack” on the religious freedom of everyone in the country. “No one will escape it.” The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, a leading opponent of LGBTQ rights, told the audience that a decision in Obergefell in favor of same-sex couples would be a call to the barricades: “Our message here needs to be that if the court tries to redefine marriage it will be doing the… Read full this story
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