Supreme Court Justice Alito Criticizes Exclusion of Christians from Jury Duty in LGBT Case

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito raised concerns about the treatment of Christians in a recent trial involving a lesbian, stating that Christians with traditional religious views are increasingly being labeled as bigots. Alito’s comments came after Missouri requested the Supreme Court to review a ruling that barred two Christians from serving on the jury in the trial.

Alito referenced his dissent in the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case, where he warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage could lead to the labeling of Americans with traditional religious beliefs as bigots. He expressed his apprehension that his warning was not being heeded by society.

The case in question involved an employment discrimination lawsuit brought by a lesbian plaintiff, Jean Finney, and the dismissal of two Christian jurors who believed homosexuality was sinful. Finney’s attorney argued that these jurors would not be impartial in considering a case involving a lesbian plaintiff. The Missouri Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s decision, reasoning that jurors who held such religious beliefs could not be impartial.

Missouri appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, challenging the removal of the jurors based on their religious beliefs. However, Alito noted that a state law procedural issue complicated hearing the case and led to the court’s decision not to review it. Alito emphasized the importance of protecting the free exercise of religion in court, stating that when a court finds a person ineligible to serve on a jury due to their religious beliefs, it affects their fundamental rights.

Alito’s concerns about the treatment of Christians in cases involving same-sex marriage date back to his dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. He predicted that this ruling would be used to vilify Americans who did not adhere to the new orthodoxy, and that dissenting views would be suppressed. Alito called for the Supreme Court to address rulings like the one in Missouri at an appropriate time.

The decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case compared the denial of same-sex marriage to the denial of equal treatment for African Americans and women. Alito argued that this decision would be exploited by those seeking to eliminate any dissenting viewpoints. He expressed his reluctance in concurring with the court’s decision not to review the Missouri case due to the procedural issue, stating that if it were not for this complication, he would have voted to grant review.

As Christians with traditional religious beliefs face potential discrimination in the legal system, Alito’s comments highlight the importance of protecting religious freedom and equal protection under the law. The Supreme Court’s refusal to review the case raises questions about the limits of religious freedom in the context of same-sex marriage.

This story is a reprint with permission from Baptist Press. Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.