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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. Mitchell

    I hope no one takes offense to this, but I give the finger to fanatics that think they're always right. God is "all-knowing" yet we supposedly have "free will?" Sounds like "God" waits for us to screw up. I don't know why you make such a big a** deal over gay marriage. If they ain't breaking into your house to murder you in your sleep or taking advantage of your children, if they aren't personally bothering YOU AT ALL, then why even WORRY about it? It doesn't affect you directly. It's garbage like this that turned me from a Christian to an Apatheist. I don't believe in a God, and I honestly don't CARE for religious hypocrisy.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • David Johnson

      If god is all knowing, then we don't have free will. Some now declare god is not all knowing. This allows free will. But, then god becomes just another mortal.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:27 am |
  2. mabel floyd

    if it takes a law governing other peoples behavior in bed to make you feel you marriage is great you do not have much of a marriage. the reason the law was made was to encourage more children being born. some churches taught that having children was the reason for marriage. not only did it give parent more helpers, the churches more parishioners, and it set forth the law governing the ownership of assets after death. churches demanded on the pain of hell that wives were sinful when denying sex, couples could go to hell for using birth control. today people do not marry just to have children. many couples have decided that will not have any children, relationships are the focus of marriage today.
    i will never understand why people are so obsessed with what their neighbors are doing in bed! churches have the right to govern the rules ofymarriage in their church–but the state must be able to have the rules of marriage under the state rules. the rules must apple to all citizens couple–be they straight or gay. if the churches are going to enter politics more and more then they should start paying taxes.

    August 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
  3. SoJax

    Heteros have all the cards. They want to keep them. You can tell that because they really don't care about defending marriage or they'd be pushing to ban divorce.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  4. Reality

    Hmmm, same s–ex unions aka mutual mast–urbation vs. the natural act of marriage, aka va–gina meets pe–nis. How will the Supreme Court rule???

    August 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  5. Arlah

    If marriage is a religious institution, then, as an agnostic, I shouldn't be allowed to get married either then, shouldn't I?
    What about my brother, who is 29, a self-declared atheist and married to a neopagan?
    And what about my little sister, who has Turner Syndrome and has only one X chromisome and is sterile? Because apparently marriage is meant for procreating and populating the already overpopulated Earth. Should she not be able to marry?
    Please, some who is conservative and believes marriage is a religious institution, be brave and answer me, because I've never gotten an answer back and I'd really like one. Or, is it because you don't have one...?

    August 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  6. Frank

    I believe divorce is more dangerous than gay marriage. And I am straight....

    August 5, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  7. Alan

    To those who say "the religious right is taking away rights from the minority" and "conservatives want to legislate what happens in a bedroom".... I say if either of those two statements were true, the "religious right" would be trying to pass a law outlawing homosexuality in the US. The "religious right" has never attempted to pass any such law in modern history. Actually the "religous right" are the ones who wrote and upheld the constitution which creates all the freedoms the gays currently enjoy.

    California law already grants full equal protection under the law to gay civil unions. No rights have been taken away from gay people – except the ability to use the title "married". Everyone continues to be free to do whatever they want in their bedrooms- that is not going to change.

    If the people of California (who have lived with and loved gays longer than anyone else) have decided to draw a line at changing the definition of marriage, the courts should respect that.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  8. James M

    If a gay couple wishes to marry under most religous context they will be sent to hell for eternity. How can you be gay and honestly pious? Why is marriage even a legal issue if it is purely a religous issue? Do not redefine Marriage. The law should not interfere with religion similar to how religion can not interfere with the law. Gay marriage is a sin so how can we say God Bless the USA?

    August 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Chuck

      Um, because marriage is a legal issue, not a religious issue. You can be religious and be married, and you can be nonreligious and be married. Hence... atheists... being... married...

      August 5, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • NL

      Actually, all marriages in the US have to be legal, as they are contracts between two persons and subject to a great many laws. There are laws regulating who can get married, of course who they can marry, at what age, who can do the marrying, where, who witnesses, and a wide range of laws concerning how people should treat one another in marriage. There use to be laws regulating what race you could marry, but we have moved on from that just as we will move on from this. Of course, at this rate, we will be the last Western nation to do so, but we lag behind them with everything it seems, so why change now, right?

      So, all marriages are legal concerns foremost, and then some people add a layer of religious tradition if they so choose. Some people add a layer of cultural significance too by getting married on the beach, with a Western theme, or at the ballpark where they met. These are all extras, added on to give added meaning, but the basis is still a legal agreement.

      August 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, Chuck is right. I am not gay. I am married. I do not believe there are any gods. I guess that puts your theory at risk, huh?

      August 6, 2010 at 9:24 am |
    • mike cutter

      JM, you were promoted to the title of "god" when???
      You are assuming your opinion is that of the Creator.
      Religion is the work of man, not God. The gospels don't even agree on all points because they are political documents written and deliberately selected to reinforce the power of the church over the Jews and Romans who were in power at the time.
      I believe in a Creator, but not in religion.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  9. David Johnson

    Everyone should read the comment made by charlesnalaska. It is as I have been saying. We must get as many people registered to vote and then get them out to vote. The religious right, with their puppets the Republicans, are always wanting to amend the constitution. They are trying to convince the American public, that the founding fathers never meant for there to be a separation of church and state. They want this to be a Christian nation. The religious right wants to define what that Christian nation will look like. We have freedoms. Don't let these religious nuts take them from us. Vote for the Dems in November.

    August 5, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • NL

      You're up against a crowd that can successfully convince people that supernatural forces will torture everyone in the country and possibly destroy the planet should they allow same-sex marriage to pass. Most religious folks would gladly shove their own mothers under a bus to prevent that from happening. Good luck!

      August 5, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  10. James

    Thank heavens for the Constitution! There should never be place in this good country for H8. Hallelujah!

    August 5, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • David Johnson

      Yes, but the constitution is under attack by the religious right and the Republicans. If you love your freedoms and rights, vote for the Dems in November. God will bless you for it.

      August 6, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  11. R.G. Frano, A-EMT-4-Paramedic, ACLS, (Ret.)

    I'm engaged to a wonderful person.
    I will leave out the part where I indicate the 'MM/MF/FF orientation' of this relationship as an 'irrevelent' detail.
    If/when 'gays', 'straights', or ANYONE else come along to tell us what we can/can't do, based on their medievil prejudices, they'll be in for a world of nasty feedback, (in the courts), to remind them that my/our situation is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!

    Time after time I've heard so-called 'religious-conservatives' insist that all manner of vague calimities will strike humanity if gays marry. In the states, cities & countries where marriege equality has occurred, NO Deity has visited biblical plagues, or...much of anything else!

    Pat Robertson, like the (violence-extolling) Islamic preachers, insists HIS Deity will smote us all for these 'sins', as did the late Jerry Falwell & so many others...as if whatever Deity/Deities exist are just sitting 'round, smokin' a doobie, bored out of their celestial skulls!
    The credibility of organized religion, espicially 'monothiestic' religions, is already in the toilet, and is further damadged everytime these foolish, bigoted people make some immense, "God is gonna git ya!" claim and...their God(-es) don't – didn't come thru as predicted'!
    Of course, Mr. Robertson also, (apparently), has problems/regrets that the Haitians ended french colonial servatude, claiming they needed a pact with his Anti-Diety, (Satan? Loki? Other(s)?) to stop an atrocious exploitative situation in the late 1700's!

    How will straight religious conservatives fittingly apoligise to their gay brothers, sisters, (and sons, daughters, mothers,fathers, aunts & uncles, etc.), when NONE of these tumltous 'Deity-Vengence' situations occur as predicted?
    And, for all you comic-philosophers out there...yes, gay folk CAN get pregnant. All it takes is a willing womb, some sperm, an egg & a turkey-baster, (L.O.L.!!)...and then...'PRESTO'!!

    August 5, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  12. Eric

    My opinion is not that of a Christian, nor Jew or Muslim or whatever believer.

    Marriage is an institution created by mankind to celebrate the union of a man and a woman, the only kind which can give birth to children.
    Therefore it means more than love between two people : it means that mankind will go on generation after generation.

    Gay sex will never provide that. So banning gay marriage is not discrimination, but the plain ackowledgement of a fundamental (not fundamentalist) difference : the life or death of humanity.

    August 5, 2010 at 6:59 am |
    • David Johnson

      I'll just bet, that the human race won't go extinct because of the gays. There will still be adequate reproduction to allow overpopulating the earth.

      The gays can't reproduce whether they are married or not. So marriage is irrelevant.

      I think you don't like gay marriage, because you think baby Jesus is against it. And verily I say unto you: "Who cares?" LOL

      August 5, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • Moi

      @Eric – you're half right. Marriage was an institution created by man, but it's intent before it GOT HIJACKED BY THE CHURCH was to protect children born from a union between men and women. This was centuries before artificial insemination mind you, or adoption of unwanted children by couples who were committed to rearing children regardless of why they were discarded like garbage.

      @ all the homophobes posting: Just like everything including religion, marriage being a legal contract between two people was thought up by PEOPLE. If you (the religious zealots) are so bound and determined to cram a "holy matrimony trumps your Constitutional rights" attitude down everyone's throats, why "pray" tell, does the dissolution of a marriage require a LAWYER, and a JUDGE to sign off on it before it is LEGAL? Why not simply trot down to the local Fred Phelps for a divorce at the altar? Oh that's right, because in Cuckoo-Fundie-Land, divorce is a sin too. You aren't harping about that one, are you?

      August 5, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  13. Mr.C

    Burn the churches and eat the priests

    August 5, 2010 at 4:52 am |
  14. MER

    I say... "just give them the rights to marry"... we got bigger issues in this country and the planet. I grew up with some relatives that are gay and they are still together. Their success rate of staying together compared to heterosexuals is way higher which does mean something.

    August 5, 2010 at 4:42 am |
  15. OneMoreTime

    By the way, if you want to find out who doesn't have a college degree, look for these "folks" ("...them teachers can't teach me nothin'....heck I know more than they do..") favorite word. Everytime you read the word "idiot", just think to yourself no college degree from the person using that word. They have to resort to name calling because they can't generate a good arguement.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:40 am |
    • David Johnson

      Book learning only leads to ideas like evolution. Scientists should read the bible. It's all the science man will ever need. I am home schooling my kids. We don't teach them the stuff them idiot scientists come up with. I can feel Jesus smiling down on me as I type this.

      August 5, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  16. OneMoreTime

    Marriage is to protect children. Since homosexuals can't reproduce, there is no need for marriage. Domestic partner laws already give them many of the same benefits of married heterosexuals. Like alcoholics and scizophrenics, gays may be born with a genetic predispostion, but this doen't make it normal behavior. We should treat them with kindness like people with other illnesses. However calling their behavior normal is a misrepresentation, and letting the institution of marriage be corrupted by people with deviant behavior makes no sense.

    August 5, 2010 at 3:20 am |
    • Crystal

      "I often hear that traditional marriage furthers the state's interest in procreation—and that opening marriage to same-sex couples would dilute, diminish, and devalue this goal. But that is plainly not the case. Preventing lesbians and gays from marrying does not cause more heterosexuals to marry and conceive more children. Likewise, allowing gays and lesbians to marry someone of the same sex will not discourage heterosexuals from marrying a person of the opposite sex. How, then, would allowing same-sex marriages reduce the number of children that heterosexual couples conceive? This procreation argument cannot be taken seriously. We do not inquire whether heterosexual couples intend to bear children, or have the capacity to have children, before we allow them to marry. We permit marriage by the elderly, by prison inmates, and by persons who have no intention of having children. What's more, it is pernicious to think marriage should be limited to
      heterosexuals because of the state's desire to promote procreation. We would surely not accept as constitutional a ban on marriage if a state were to decide, as China has done, to discourage procreation."

      -Ted Olsen

      August 5, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • David Johnson

      You obviously have a very high opinion of yourself. I don't share it.

      Be sure you read all the posts, exposing the flaws in your reasoning. Cheers!

      August 5, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • SoJax

      To many of us that don't belive there is a God, those that flock to a "Church" every week to play follow the leader with a wannabe politician seem sick. I've been in services where I felt I knew why Jim Jones lead thousands of people to drink poison cool aid. The objective seems to be to get everyone under the control of the leader. I find the whole thing creepy. (It's my personal theory that many preachers couldn't be politicians because there are too many skeletons in the closet....think Catholic Priesthood). That said, I know many good Christian people that think for themselves but have Faith and separate the words of their Religeous "leader" from what they feel in the heart. I praise them for remaining faithful while using their own cognitive power.

      August 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  17. psandro

    we the sheeple. have been duped by a one man lawman... i wish he were a lawnman that way he can cut grass instead of ruling the fate of 40 million people with his pompass arrogance. This man needs to be impeached and thrown in jail for violating the will of the people...wait they would have to throw the entire congress in there too.

    August 5, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • David Johnson

      You are kidding, right? Read the posts about rights and not subjecting them to a vote.

      August 5, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • Chuck

      You obviously have no idea about how our government is supposed to work. You don't vote on people's rights, EVER. Otherwise interracial marriage would still be illegal in many states.

      August 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  18. Canonscottage

    I strongly suggest the judge's entire opinion be read before commenting. It's an amazing document and I think presents the situation quite clearly, including how the American understanding of marriage has changed over the past 150 years. In my opinion this isn't about how many people are on one side or the other - the "people" don't always vote in accordance with our constitution. And our constitution is about law and not morality as most of us might wish at one time or the other.

    August 5, 2010 at 2:39 am |
  19. Irish Red

    Discrimination and hate are abundant in the country. This is not about what individuals or groups feel is morally or religiously right or wrong. This is about everyone having the same rights under the law...where is the separation of church and state? I have been in a decade long relationship with my partner, which is longer than many married couples we know. It is not any individuals or politicians job to judge me. If marriage is one man + one woman I ask, would you give up your benefits under the law that have nothing to do with your religious or spiritual commitment? Of course you wouldn't. Each of us individually will answer for our actions to whatever higher power you believe in, remember that as you are full of bigotry, hate and judgement. You cannot legislate morality!!!

    August 5, 2010 at 2:34 am |
    • psandro

      you can't legislate morality you say? We already have been legislating morality for over 3,000 years... Thou shall not murder- was legislated already. If you kill someone, you go to jail. Thou shall not bare false witness- yes this too has been legislated. If you lie in court, you go to jail too. Thou shall not steal- i'm sorry but they legislated that too. If you steal, you go to jail. darn. can't get away with anything anymore.

      August 5, 2010 at 2:41 am |
    • Irish Red

      Crime against a fellow man should be punishable by law. When two consenting adults choose to be together that is not a crime against you or any other person. Judge not...

      August 5, 2010 at 3:10 am |
  20. psandro

    Any nation that turns it self to debuchary will not last long. This nation is in decline, sorry people. Abortion on demand, wholesale slaughter of the innocent. and now sodom and gomorrah... these people who want all of this have no morals, no God, no decency, no values... just a debased mind....

    August 5, 2010 at 2:30 am |
    • Irish Red

      what is debuchary? I may be gay, but at least I can spell!

      August 5, 2010 at 2:36 am |
    • JoeyRed

      ummmm.... which god are we talking about? Yours or mine?

      August 5, 2010 at 2:39 am |
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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.