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. Bill

    If you wanted the true Christian core values for marriage, divorce would also be banned.

    Think about that for a bit.

    August 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  2. PaullovesJesus

    "David Johnson
    The religious right and the Mormons are the ones pushing for the ban. I love it when Jesus loses. "

    Hi David,

    Totally agree with you...except it isn't Jesus who is losing. Just some bizarre creation of Men like st Paul who twisted Jesus' (a mystic, if you look at the Sermon on the Mount) words and created the Religion of Christianity which doesn't have a whole lot to do with Jesus who preached non-judgmental Love. The rest of the scriptures are attempts at social control for time long past. People just hang on to religious traditions for a sense of safety and identity; not because they are true.

    August 12, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  3. Neil

    I can't think of a single logical, rational reason why consenting adults, in love, should not be allowed to marry.

    Maybe we should turn this around, and suggest a ban on Christians getting married.

    Homophobes are the racists of our generation....

    August 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  4. michael

    It looks like the right wing's lawyers see their client's relgious passions as a legal gravy train with big fees for years to come.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  5. michael

    So the Judge writes a 138 pg decision stating how pathetic and non existent were the arguments of the right wing religious mental cases and they make the statement below; Did any of their brilliant lawyers tell them on appeal, you are appealing the 1st decision and if you did not present anything, you are left with nothing to appeal.
    "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.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  6. stl70

    ...so if all the gay people in the Country move to a single state and become the majority there, they should be entitled to vote and outlaw heterosexual marriage and define marriage as the union between two people of the same sex right?

    August 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  7. Cindy

    A question for all the activists out there who state the following: 1.) Marriage is about FAMILY and thus only heterosexual couples should be allowed to marry so they can produce children.
    Well, if you're going to go 'family first' then go all the way!! Why not also disallow infertile couples from marrying. Oh... and couples who choose to not bear chilren... make sure to include them too. What about heterosexual couples who marry later in life and cannot have children? And what about the thousands of children who are born each year and taken from their homes due to neglect and abuse? I mean...their parents are heterosexual and married.... Just stop. And, how does gay marriage DIRECTLY affect you... in your everyday lives?

    August 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  8. Louis E.

    The general welfare clause of the constitution ought to be read as requiring the perpetual guarantee of preferential treatment to opposite-sex relationships in return for the unique benefit that society receives from the fact that they are of opposite-sex (regardless of any details such as any reproductive intent or capacity,the principle of opposite-sex relationships being exclusively normative is a necessity for a well-ordered society).I am not nor have I ever been religious,this is a matter of secular common sense.No decision claiming marriage itself as a constitutional right contemplated the requirement of marriage partners being of opposite sexes being remotely open to question.

    A homosexual's refusal to remain celibate is no more worthy of respect or acceptance than an alcoholic's refusal to remain sober,and wrong behavior is not entitled to "equal protection" with proper behavior.Nor does desire to violate a standard of conduct enroll anyone in a "protected class" against whom it is "discrimination" to enforce that standard.

    August 12, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  9. nature1

    No matter what country we live in and whether religious or not, we are all part of nature. The laws of nature only allow a man and a woman to be together. It goes against nature to have members of the same sex together. The court’s laws (a piece of signed paper) are only so good. They pale in comparison to nature's laws. A law that we find in nature is (Newton's Third Law) that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Whether or not gays are allowed to marry, if enough people get together unnaturally and attempt to break Mother nature's laws, her reaction will be equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. It may not happen right away but it will happen and there will be no escaping. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society.

    August 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
  10. Canonscottage

    It's difficult to be reminded (once again) that this is about the Constitution, it is not about any religious beliefs we Christians and others may have. It doesn't matter if even a majority of people believe "marriage is a religious union between a man and a woman". That's 1 point of view, but it doesn't matter. In all of the civil rights issues of our country - slavery, women voting, racial equality etc etc - they never would have happened if we had to wait for the will of the people first. I need to go back and read some constitutional history to more fully understand what the factors were for our constitution to reflect a stand-back-and-be-carefully-objective in all these matters. Still rather amazing I think.

    August 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  11. Justsoyaknow


    Homosexual behavior in animals refers to the documented evidence of homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior in animals. Such behaviors include sex, courtship, affection, pair bonding, and parenting. A 1999 review by researcher Bruce Bagemihl shows that homosexual behavior has been observed in close to 1,500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, and is well documented for 500 of them.[1][2] Animal sexual behavior takes many different forms, even within the same species. The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied. [3] According to Bagemihl, "the animal kingdom [does] it with much greater sexual diversity — including homosexual, bisexual and nonreproductive sex — than the scientific community and society at large have previously been willing to accept."[4] Current research indicates that various forms of same-sex sexual behavior are found throughout the animal kingdom.[5] A new review made in 2009 of existing research showed that same-sex behavior is a nearly universal phenomenon in the animal kingdom, common across species.[6] Homosexuality is best known from social species.

    Over 1500 Animal species have homosexual tendencies.. but you probably have all the facts since you were so eager to pose the question that was very presumptuous – how many besides mankind? only 1500+ strong.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  12. Gretchen

    fr chris:

    >...Marriage is a religious union between a man and a woman...<

    No, it is not. It is a LEGAL contract between two consenting, non-attached, legal adults. Get a grip.

    August 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  13. Questioner

    Perhaps civil unions are better than government sponsored marriages. The tradition of man-woman marriage existed long before government issued marriage licenses. If the government got out of the marriage license business then churches would be solely responsible for recognising marriage. All previous government issued marriage licenses would be reclassified as civil unions and recognised as legal agreements. Will your government issued marriage license be accepted in a heaven of heterosexual couples?

    August 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
  14. Steve

    Tony Perkins and his group are saddly mistaken.

    August 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  15. Ashley

    Gay marraiges are going to be allowed sooner or later, get over it. Segregation.. women's rights... we all fight at first.. but guess what? There are no more colored fountains and women are allowed to vote. So all the narrow minded people can keep fighting it but it's inevitable. Gay marraiges are going to be allowed sooner or later.

    August 12, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • NL

      Right, and openly, gay-accepting churches will be next. It will be interesting to see which ministers will be first to cash in on the new clientele.

      August 13, 2010 at 12:45 am |
  16. BobM

    I find it ironic that groups called "ProtectMarriage.com" is pushing for a ban on marriages... even if those marriages are between couples of the same sex.

    Do you think same-sex marriage threatens the institution of marriage somehow? If so, i have a question for you: How? That's a question none of the hate-driven, bible-thumping, homophobes have been able to answer.

    And oh: Marriage is not a "religious institution." It hasn't been since the first time two people were married by someone that was not affiliated with a church. Since that predates the word marriage, that means it's never been one. So excuse the rest of us if we don't let you steal everyone's ball and call it yours.

    August 12, 2010 at 6:44 am |
  17. John

    People...please see the 'Sodom and Gomorrah story' in the bible..see what's the end of them...don't make the same mistake

    August 12, 2010 at 6:15 am |
    • NL

      Yes, should we offer our daughters to be raped instead?

      August 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
    • Terry from West Texas

      There was no Sodom. There was no Gomorrah.

      August 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • Terry from West Texas

      Let no sinner who has himself or herself been divorced comment on this issue for fear of your immortal souls. Divorce was clearly forbidden by Jesus, when he said, " 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.'"

      Men are permitted to divorce an unfaithful wife. Women are not permitted to divorce. Those who have divorced in defiance of Jesus' command are not worthy to comment on this issue. Go and sin no more.

      August 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • ttwp

      According to Jesus there was a Sodom and Gomorrah. "I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." Matthew 10:15

      August 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • NL

      @Terry from West Texas
      Wouldn't any woman who was unfaithful be stoned to death back then? Kinda makes the whole divorce issue moot, doesn't it?

      August 13, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  18. ybs

    All gods/religions are one big pile of dung! 🙂

    August 9, 2010 at 3:12 am |
  19. DanS

    1. It boggles my mind that so many people don't understand how the system works. A law is enacted. A lawsuit is filed to challenge the constitutionality of the law. That verdict can be appealed through the courts all the way up the Supreme Court. That's it – it happens all the time.

    2. The sexual orientation of the judge is not an issue. Every judge's impartiality is always an issue. Catholic judges can rule on abortion issues. Black judges can rule on issues of racial issues. I believe judges try their best to be impartial. Judges are human.

    3. Minority rights are protected in this Republic. That's what the Bill of Rights and many parts of our Constitution are about. The Constitution either applies to our entire diverse population, or it applies to no one. The evolution of this Constitution has produced more freedoms for Americans. Discriminatory laws should never be put to a vote in America.

    4. Anyone following the science concerning the roots os sexual orientation understands that the answers are not known. It is pointing more in the direction of a genetic (and epigenetic) root at this time, but nurture and environment are sure to be involved.

    5. Human homosexuality has been around for a miilion years. Heterosexuals produce homosexual children all the time, and vice versa. Some cultures celebrate this difference, and some cultures torture and kill the homosexuals. Homosexuality IS natural. It's been documented in 1500 species. See the story on Fox(!)

    6. Heterosexual parents raise well adjusted children and monsters. Same with homosexuals. Look up the research.

    I predict that In 20 years most people in this country will gladly forget that we're so worked up about this issue now, and some people will still be stuck in the superstitious Middle Ages. Oh well.

    August 6, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  20. Joshua

    A. It is hypocritical to say that homosexuals are "born gay." There is absolutely no irrefutable scientific evidence to point that homosexuality is not a choice. The Human Genome Project found absolutley nothing different genetically, physio-psychologically, or biochemically between heterosexuals & homosexuals. So when you take all biophyisiological and biochemical aspects out of the equation, then all you are left with is choice. At one point these people made a subconscience or conscience choice to follow a certain sexuality. All same-sex marriage proponents have is blatant emotionilism without hard data. Plus, even if you don't believe in the religous connotations of it, you still can't approve of homosexuality in that it is not a successful aspect in nature! No homosexual animals (which there is none by the way) were ever successful biologically in that they did not reproduce naturally.
    Plus it's a historical precedent that once every great civilization accepts homosexuality, then it declines in 20-30 years. It irritates me that most people don't do their homework on these issues and just sit back and do whatever the TV tells them to. Finally, this country was founded by Judeo-Christian morals & principles, whether you like it or not. Go read some history.

    August 6, 2010 at 9:12 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.