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. Clark1b

    so the judge says any two people should be allowed to marry unless "we" can come up with a rational reason to say no. so what set of ethics or values or morals would the judge have us use to base a "rational" reason on for saying no?
    and then since he won't be able to come up with one ... he won't be able to find one that would allow us to say no to "three or four person marriages" or "old men marrying young girls or even multiple young girls" or "any other definition of marriage" ...
    so what does the Constitution set as rules and standards? apparently ... only that nobody can say no to anybody else and we will simply blow where the winds blow ... which means the rule of law is no longer active.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Greg G.

    The political bias in the subject is evident. Fact is both political sides have plenty of people who are against Gay marriage. Just as vice versa like myself. It should be just listed as anti gay marriage groups.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Paul

      An overwhelming percentage of conservatives are for discriminating against couples based on the sex/gender of each adult. An overwhelming percentage of liberals support treating same-sex couples equally, giving them the rights and freedoms they deserve.

      Conservatives are both fiscally conservative and socially conservative. If you support same-sex marriage, you are not socially conservative and thus are not a conservative.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm |
  3. Mark

    Perkins and the rest of the miscreets at the FRC need ti get a life. I think they have done more harm to the name of Christ than any ruling or law they disagree with will ever do...

    August 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Scott

    If the SCOTUS were smart they would not review the case as previous rulings have left marriage to be a state issue. If they do hear the case, I believe they will support the lower court's ruling, which is the why the federal law regarding marriage is not enforced. All in all, people should be able to marry whatever other adult they want. Previous laws restricting marriage between white and African-American people have been ruled unconstitutional in the past.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm |

    You have it all wrong, its not the fact that they are not hetero that republicans hate, its because the relationship being same sex means both partners are equal and that goes against their fundamental values in that the woman should be at home cooking and cleaning and such or being paid less for the same job! So, a comprimise would be to allow them to marry as long as one of the two declares the he/she will be the "woman" in the relationship and agree to be subservient and be paid less should "she" enter the work force!

    August 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • Paige

      What is this, 1801? Have you not noticed that in recent years an increasing number of women work outside the home, as well as a rise in the number of stay-at-home dads? Most successful marriages are based not upon the man lording dominant over his wife, but a relation ship built on compromise and equality where both partners know how to give and take. Having one partner deemed the "woman" in a any couple is not only offensive and limiting, but highly impractical.

      Please, please think before you say something that ignorant again. And please respect the women in your life!

      August 5, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  6. I don't take the backroads...

    People can say what they want about homosexuality, but the fact of the matter is this: it's just not natural. Any guy who wants to take his member and put it up the Hersey Road of another dude is just downright disgusting. It's a combination of mental trauma and a hormone imbalance, and should be treated as such-it's a syndrome/disease, not something "someone is born with". Come on people, a dude sticking it up another dude!!! Come on?!!? That's just NASTY!!!

    August 4, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      It is not my cup of tea either. But, no one is suggesting we have to participate. Gay marriage doesn't mean you have to marry another man. You will still have a choice.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:52 am |
    • mike cutter

      To the person who linked homosexuality to anal intercourse, you are not aware that some heterosexuals indulge in this also. In the middle ages, sodomy was defined by the church as any sexual act other than missionary position intercourse intended for procreation.
      Marriage is a civil concept now, religion is not required. The medical profession no longer considers homosexuality to be aberrant, that idea was dropped years ago.
      I have yet to hear a rational argument as to how homosexual marriage harms traditional religious marriage. This is a matter of discrimination rationalized as religiously defined morality.

      August 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  7. Steve

    Religion based morality has no say in the secular legal world. Views from the pulpit and pews should have no bearing on the bench or in the courtroom. Let all upstanding citizens of this great nation be free to pursue their happiness. If you derive your happiness be denying others theirs, you can walk that path, just keep it in the church, not the courtrooms or the congress.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • Stuart

      That was a nice piece of grandstanding with just a hint of fantasy. I sincerely suggest a return to your high school World and American History courses for the historical truth of the matter.

      August 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm |

    You have it all wrong, its not the fact that they are gay that republicans hate, its because the relationship being same sex means both partners are equal and that goes against their fundamental values in that the woman should be at home cooking and cleaning and such or being paid less for the same job! So, a comprimise would be to allow gays to marry as long as one of the two declares the he/she will be the "woman" inthe relationship and agree to be subservient and be paid less should "she" enter the work force!

    August 4, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • JD

      *Shaking my head while laughing*

      August 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Stuart

    Marriage is an act of civilized society. Homosexual "marriage," which is an oxymoron, is an act of sexual perversion and no different in its ethical status from that of humans and animals mating. It is not uncommon in history for even the most advanced societies to lose their way and debase themselves. Ultimately they crash.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines normally-contradictory terms.

      August 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
  10. elph

    Can trolls marry? 'cause I wanna know...

    August 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
  11. kd

    Conservatives are a sick group of people. Clearly.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • migehill

      why are conservatives a "sick group of people"

      August 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • Paul

      Because they believe that big brother should be allowed to watch us in the bedroom. Because they believe that the government should tell us what two consenting adults can and cannot do in the bedroom.

      If you disagree with that and yet call yourself a conservative, you need to call yourself something else.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  12. Enough with the H8

    Marriage should be allowed for any two consenting adults. If they want to suffer like heterosexuals let them! 🙂

    August 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  13. maine liberal

    This is not a religous issue. No law is forcing any church to marry gay couples.
    The state is secular and does not "bless" nor sanctify the union.

    In maine anyone with 60 bucks and a stamp (JP) can marry people.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Physicist28

    Don't let LDSers with erasers near the Constitution. They'd love majority rule with how irresponsibly they pop out babies.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
  15. Chuck

    Well said David, Ca

    August 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Geez

    Religious conservatives and fiscal Conservatives are two different things... this article title is unfair. I think that the judges decision was the right one...

    August 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Seth

      That is definitely an important distinction to make.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  17. Billie

    "Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians" and rightly so!! Constitutional rights trump all, and it's horrifying to think they could be voted out no matter how many people don't like them. If you don't support the concept of equal rights then you should leave the US and live somewhere that governs by fundamentalist principals – like Iran or Afghanistan, etc.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  18. Henry Miller

    There the American Taliban goes again, sticking their long, twisty, noses into other peoples' businesses.

    I do not understand how anyone could ever, in good conscience, try to impose the tenets of their religion on anyone else.

    Of course, I similarly don't understand how anyone of any pride or integrity could ever demand that their lives be subsidised by "entitlements" paid for by taxing total strangers.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  19. 21k

    is newt gingrich still married to his THIRD wife? or is he out working on #4, trying to keep up to rush?

    August 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • Dino

      Yep, and right-wing Republican former Congressman Bob Barr was on his THIRD marriage in 1996 when he was the lead sponsor of the Defense of Marriage Act which banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Which one of his THREE marriages was he trying to defend?

      August 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Conservatives are nothing but a big joke and really need to come to terms with reality.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:02 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.