August 4th, 2010
05:46 PM ET

Conservatives vow to fight Prop. 8 ruling, citing threat to gay marriage bans nationwide

Within moments of a federal judge striking down California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday, religious conservatives vowed to fight the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, saying the decision threatens gay marriage bans nationwide.

"This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' " said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, referring to the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Perkins and other conservatives said the ruling, which found California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, would overturn marriage bans adopted by dozens of states if it is upheld.

Perkins told CNN he will work to make the ruling an issue in this fall's midterm elections. "This is the age of the Tea Party, where you have people saying government is not listening," Perkins told CNN. "And here you have a judge saying seven million people (who supported California's Proposition 8 ) don't matter."

Some conservatives began calling for a renewed push to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, an effort that was largely abandoned after it failed during President George W. Bush's administration.

"Many senators who voted against the federal marriage amendment the last time it came up said publicly if a federal court interfered with a state's right to determine this issue, they would then be willing to vote for a federal marriage amendment," said Richard Land, who heads public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention. "Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to vote."

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday that California's Proposition 8, which passed via a 2008 ballot initiative, violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. The case is now expected to go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The decision marks the first time a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Though they denounced the decision, conservatives said they anticipated it and had been planning their next legal and political steps for months.

"We have a strong team of attorneys and they knew we were not only arguing this before a single judge, we were planning an argument that would go through the 9th Circuit and the Supreme Court and they made decisions based on that," said Ron Prentice, chairman of the executive committee of ProtectMarriage.com, a California-based coalition.

"This is round one of what we knew would be a multi-round battle," Prentice said.

Beyond challenging Wednesday's ruling in court, conservative activists said they will try to hammer home the message that the final Proposition 8 ruling will determine the constitutionality of other state bans on gay marriage.

"A lot of Americans sitting back right now probably don't realize that this case involves more than California," said

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst with CitizenLink, the public policy arm of Focus on the Family. "This case is not about Prop. 8, it's about all 50 states."

A Gallup poll last May found that 44 percent of Americans support legal recognition of same-sex marriage, while 53 percent do not.

Since the late 1990s, 41 states have adopted constitutional amendments or other laws banning gay marriage, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Politics • United States

soundoff (515 Responses)
  1. Paul

    There is more problems with the straight community than there could be in any other type of gay community. Tony Perkins, The Tea Party types and of course the Southern Confederate Baptist convention are against any type of change which will eventually come. I believe Tony Perkins, Bruce Hausknecht and of course his Southern Baptist Convention followers, The Tea Party types and others well represent their true lord, Satin in their endeavors. How do you say wolves in sheep's clothing.

    August 13, 2010 at 1:49 am |
  2. arkzist

    NoBama.... your fuinny... first of all there has been homosexual tendencies in several animal species including penguins and various apes... YES apes...... and another thing we evolved along side the current apes ... not from them...

    August 13, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  3. adam007to

    God's motto in Africa is AIDS for everyone apparently, how can u tell me that he exists? Why would so called "god" grant someone a prayer for better house, than life to a person, who's praying as hard as he can. Oh I know because "god works in mysterious ways" Are u kidding me? That is the most simplistic comment I've ever heard, that doesn't prove anything or even sounds close to any logic. Jesus chirst died and suffered for us? What about all the people that died for our freedom, people that are dying of starvation, why are we not praying to them, they have suffered and suffering more than jesus ever did. God is just like any narcotic: crystal methane, some music concert, all three will rise the levels of serotonin (hormone of happiness). And there so called "feeling god" mystery is resolved. I think it is time for atheists to rise up and see the true threat that organized religion holds. Science is new to us no one is quite familiar with it, we have to make people aware. If YOU ARE religious BE religious in ur own kitchen with ur family, don't go spread lies around. If u have something against same sex marriage, don't marry person of the same sex! SIMPLE, if u wish to think that somehow it can affect ur children, u are terribly wrong. If u kid is born gay he will be no matter what. P.S. I do not capitalize words "god and chirst" simply because I feel no respect, that this words even worth tiny second of my attention to capitalize them.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.