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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. Jim

    It's interesting that so many people use the Constitution and the Bible when it agrees with them, but trash those same documents when they don't coincide with their own personal biases. Its also interesting that conservatives deplore government involvement in their freedoms and lives but want government to control the freedoms and lives of others. What's wrong with that picture?

    August 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  2. Rad Sim

    I really don't care whether homosexuals marry or not, but I do care about voters rights and state's rights which have been trampled upon. Say whatever you want but this is a moral issue just as incestuous and polygamous marriage is. I look at the latter as wrong and it will now be easier to pass those as well since the same arguments work on them also. Society is always changing its moral compass for marriage age, drinking, gambling, dating, abortion... and homosexual marriage is no different. What is troubling though is the sovereignty of a state and it's voters. This is not unconstitutional it's simply a liberal judge's opinion... a conservative judge would not have found it so. i.e. a moral issue, and when it makes it to the extremely liberal full 9th circuit no difference will occur. But then it could be on to the Supreme Court of the US... slightly leaning conservative (right now) could be a big difference.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Anthony

      Walker is a "liberal judge?" Do some research.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Read the 14th amendment

      August 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  3. Stella

    This is why I have nothing to do with religion. It promotes bigotry and hatred for anyone that is different or doesn't follow their party line. It's disgusting.
    Let gays marry. If the religious freaks are so afraid of corruption than their foundation is weak, not the laws.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
    • Veronica Dial

      @Stella
      'This is why I have nothing to do with religion. It promotes bigotry and hatred for anyone that is different or doesn't follow their party line. It's disgusting.'

      –Actually that's the exact reason I am not a left leaning liberal. πŸ˜‰

      August 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
    • STOFHT

      Veronica Dial

      Huh? That is an Oxymoron!

      August 4, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • Paul

      I agree religion promotes hate and bigotry. Religion should have NOTHING to do with our laws. All people should be treated equally and be given the same rights. Remember when women were considered property Veronica???

      August 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • GMD

      Veronica if it weren't for liberals most likely all our children would be learning how Jesus rode a dinosaur to temple. You should thank your god for the liberals who are fighting for true freedom, equality and rational thought. Liberals have encouraged more progress and positive change in this country then a room full of self serving hypocritical neocons...

      August 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  4. Twist

    This is exactly why they got the Supreme court to intervene and keep cameras out of the court room. Now they can claim that the judge was biased, while all of the people who were dedicated enough to read the transcripts know that the proponents just made fools of themselves. They offered absolutely no proof and two witness who both agreed that prop 8 was discriminatory and that there was no proof that gay marriage would damage hetero marriages or children

    August 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  5. David, CA

    Hey "conservatives" spend money on curing cancer, leukemia , and alzheimers!!!!! Stop wasting it on issues that have NO impact on you.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  6. randy S

    My attorney friend in S. California is ecstatic ...He thinks that his biz will double in 5 – 10 years if this case is upheld. At least there won't be many kids that will suffer from the future breakups.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • No Hate

      Gays have kids too – just not always the old fashion way. I know a lesbian couple that raised 8 children and have been together 40 years.

      August 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  7. Guest

    The conservative battle cry is "Less government control! More freedom!"

    Except, of course, when that freedom is concerning an issue they disagree with. Then, such as with gay marriage, they want MORE government control. Republicans continue to be the party of hypocrisy.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Paul

      Well said.

      August 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • GMD

      You hit the nail on the head. The lunatic fringe are like that when it comes to teaching religion in public schools too, "keep the government out of my life, except when I want to teach the world about creationism... "

      August 4, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  8. Brody

    I am still curious as to how letting same sex couples marry affects anyone. Am I missing something? Oh were going off of speculation. Well, America why are you afraid of an uncertain thing? You want war and look where it got us, but when actual love is in question you want to ban it. Why are we banning love or at least wanting to? We allow sex changes, so why not gay marriage? What ever happened to live and let live? Seriously America, what the heck is wrong with you? Land of the Free my rear end. Someone answer my questions in a respectable fashion, especially my first one.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  9. C Smith

    Conservatives are truely the most hate filled biggoted group in America. You will never "take your country back" because your country has moved on while you are still stuck in the past.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • BD70

      @I don't take the back roads....umm the fact you took it to that level leads me to believe you are a wanna be.

      August 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  10. David Thompson

    Why is it "Christian conservatives" and not "Christian bigots"? It's sad that the designation "conservative" has become synonymous with oppression, bigotry, chauvinism, racism, and environmental exploitation. It wasn't that way before Reagan...

    August 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • STOFHT

      You mean they weren't as vocal about it before Reagan?

      August 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • wow

      Wasn't that way before Reagan? Just how old are you? Did you have a TV back then?

      August 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Scott H

      Actually the Prop 8 campaign ran on ideas from Anita Bryant in '77–scare people into thinking if "the gays" get married then second graders will be stopped and taught a special class about marriage just so they could be indoctrinated. Rubbish that is, but hammering ads on TV five, six times a day often does the trick.

      August 4, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • GMD

      I don't know about that all those god laws were passed in the 1950's... They have been at work for a long time now

      August 4, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  11. Seth

    I followed the trail and testimony very closely and I did not find that the judge's approach was biased in any way. Besides if he was in fact advocating for one side or another, why would he risk the chance of having his ruling thrown out or discredited based on bias? It seems that whether he has a bias or not, he would have a great deal of interest in making an indisputably balanced ruling. I am sorry, but the reality is that the defense in this case looked silly, ignorant and unconvincing throughout their testimony.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  12. MK

    Jim Monaghan@ I can say the same thing goes for atheist/secular people as well. Don't try to brainwash our children by teaching them that same-sex marriage is okay AND homosexual relationships are ok.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      β€œWhen facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

      I love the constitution. So much better than a revised bible.

      August 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  13. No Hate

    They didn't have a case and "because the bible says so" isn't really a defense. All the LDS church money spent on this could have been spent on medical aid and food for those here in the US and in 3rd world countries.

    "Fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections" Yee-Haw!

    August 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  14. MB

    This will only lead to an increase in homosexualism in America, which is a terrible thing. It's great there is a push against this slippery slope that has already begun.

    It's truly disgusting how the liberals want to do away with democracy, wasn't that what America was made for? Let the voters decide! Don't like it? Leave

    August 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Paul

      The voters did decide when they passed the Equal Protection/Due Process clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution represents the will of the people. Prop 8 violated those clauses and thus the Constitution. Thus, Prop 8 violated the will of the people.

      Liberals love the U.S. Constitution, that's why they are cheering this ruling, because it establishes the U.S. Constitution, the will of the people, as a greater authority than a hate-filled state initiative who's only purpose was to single out and demonize a group of American citizens. If you hate both the U.S. Constitution and the will of the people that much, you are free to leave.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm |
    • OldMan

      It's the religious right that wants to kill democracy and replace our freedoms with their prejudices. They are just like the Taliban.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @OldMan

      Yes, like the Taliban, the religious right would rule with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Jon

      Except our democracy is based on "majority rules, minority rights". In a nutshell to make it simple for those of you who don't understand our government The majority makes decisions that effect our daily lives but the majority must not be allowed to trample on any minority just because they don't have the same views. It is based off of when we were being taxed without representation and because we were a minority compared to the British citizens we had no say in what happened.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:07 am |
    • Greg Dennis

      We are a republic not a democracy, and we have measures that prevent the masses from inflicting social injustices by a majority rule.

      August 5, 2010 at 1:05 am |
  15. Jim Monaghan

    The religious right are insane..
    Just try getting them to question their belief system (ie...brain washing/conditioning) and watch what happens.
    They're literal interpretation of the bible and their fanaticism WILL be the ruination of America.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • joe in TN

      I agree. Two things frighten me. Muslim fundamentalism, and Christian fundamentalism. Both are equally dangerous. When "religion" or "god" are used as evidence to support legal rights or lack of rights, all parties lose. I see the anger in these posts, the arrogance and ignorance of the comments, and the "were right, your wrong" attitude...frightening.

      August 5, 2010 at 1:28 am |
    • David Johnson

      The religious right won't be the ruination of the country, if you vote for the Dems. If you allow people like Sharron Angle to be elected, then our country is in danger. Vote the racist Republicans out of office. It is what Jesus would do.

      August 5, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      β€œWhen facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

      August 6, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  16. David R. Scott

    Religion has KILLED more people than any gay marriage could do. So tuck it up and shut up.
    Jesus loves... You bigots HATE.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  17. Julian

    A huge non-event in real terms. I lived in Ontario, Canada when it became the first jurisdiction to "legalize" gay marriage. People worried there, as they do here, about the effect. IT HAD ZERO EFFECT. ZIPPO. NADA. No one's marriage is REALLY affected by anyone else's marriage.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  18. Tom

    I am an atheist.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • JT1962

      So let's see, you're an atheist and you feel that marriage should be about children only. So if your mother dies and your father finds a woman he loves and wants to get married to but they're both well beyond child-bearing age, I guess in your eyes they can't get married, huh?

      August 4, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
    • migehill

      No, you're a gay atheist.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      What complete non sequiter responses!

      August 5, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  19. David R. Scott

    Religion has KILLED more people than any gay marriage could do. So tuck it up and shut up you morally bankrupt morons
    who consider yourselves followers of Christ. Jesus loves... You bigots HATE.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Support gay marriage

      Well said

      August 4, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • Jeffrey Moorman

      Jesus loves.. this is true.
      However He loves us so much that he doesn't want to leave us in our sinful state that we are in.
      He is coming back. Can't you see the signs? Can't any of you??
      How can you be so blind! Just look around you, the coming of the Lord is eminent!
      Repent.. turn away from your sins and turn to Christ.
      For there is no other way. Not allah, buddah, or any of those false religions. Jesus is the Christ and we all will face him one day. I pray that you find the love for him so you can face him in reverance rather than trembling in dire fear because you have scorned God's only son and lived a life that spits in his face!
      Listen you people! Look around at this gay society! It's all a sign! Look in the book of Daniel, or the book of Revelations, it's all in there! You people need to repent and turn to God, the God of Isaac and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! HE is the way the truth and the life, and no one can come to the father except by him. You people have no idea what you are doing.

      August 5, 2010 at 1:00 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeffrey Moorman

      You said, "Jesus loves.. this is true.
      However He loves us so much that he doesn't want to leave us in our sinful state that we are in.
      He is coming back. Can't you see the signs? Can't any of you??
      How can you be so blind! Just look around you, the coming of the Lord is eminent!"

      Each generation for the last 2000 years has believed Jesus was packing a bag, to return. They have all seen the signs, done the math, felt it in their hearts. Still, no Jesus. It's been 2000 years. 2000 years of pain and misery.

      You said, "For there is no other way. Not allah, buddah, or any of those false religions. Jesus is the Christ and we all will face him one day."

      How do you know that Jesus is the Christ? Because it says so in book? Because you have this feeling in your heart? You have no proof that your Jesus is any more real than the gods of any other religion. Each believer, of the other religions, "feel" that their god is the true god.

      The Jews and the Muslims don't believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Why are they wrong? What is your proof that Jesus is the son of god?

      August 5, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  20. DK

    Why was a different decision expected from what the media reported as an openly gay judge? There is no discrimination in prop 8, any 18 yr old + man can marry any 18 yr old+ woman. Those supporting gay marriage say they deserve special treatment because of their choices in sexual partners, and/or because they don't consider themselves men or women regardless of their biological gender. Does that mean a person who lives here and is a US citizen but does not consider themselves a citizen is not subject to the laws of the US? Or should a gay person be allowed to use public restrooms, or locker rooms of the opposite gender because of their sexual preferences? The US constitution does not give special rights to any class of individuals based on their sexual preferences, nor should it. Last, gay rights activists say what is the harm..these are the same activists that threaten lawsuit after lawsuit, harass churches that don't agree with them, and even called for a split of California to get what they want. Churches see the protests and legal harassment that is coming if they refuse to marry sex same couples (because they believe it is against the word of God). The old saying is true... those who preach tolerance are often only tolerant of those who agree with them.

    August 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • MMM

      What does the judge's sexual orientation have to do with his decision? Using your logic, a straight judge would have ruled in favor of Prop 8? Perhaps you should read the 100+ page ruling, which explains his decision in detail. Perhaps you should blame the defense's lame case, their lack of credible experts, and no valid data against same-sex unions. Stop blaming the judge. He did his job well. Judges do their best to put aside bias and reflect on what is presented to them in forming a decision. Again, blame the defense.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      He was appointed by the right wing heroes Ronald RayGun and Bush the First.
      His decision is based on the Constitution, Amendments 1, 10 and 14 back him up. Your bible is NOT law. 7 million Votes are NOT law. The same 14th amendment that grants citizenship to children of illegal immigrants also protects gays. Maybe when you push for its repeal, you get two for the price of one?!

      August 6, 2010 at 4:09 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.