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. montyross

    ann rice leaving christ, make room for more, the bible says in the last days there will be a great falling away from the faith.....................

    August 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  2. John

    Christians = Christ like not barbarians stonning people with words in the street

    August 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  3. Kris

    so if mary had the v-card and gave birth does that mean they had sperm banks back in the day and she was a lesbian?

    August 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • Kris


      August 4, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  4. John

    Where in the ten commandments does it say man shalt not LOVE another man and why did Christ not chastise gays in his words in red in the bible

    August 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  5. Kris

    you know how they ask for money at church and have the baskets? it all probably goes to republican campaigns or prop 8 πŸ˜› sucha waste it should go to the needy as it was intended to i though..oh religion you cause all problems

    August 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  6. Macdaddy

    Conservatives are so unhappy, and miserable. Why dont you all commit suicide? Go straight to the arms of Jesus. Leave us normal people alone.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • migehill

      You're not normal, nor will you ever be. No law will change that.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  7. John

    Mary there is obviously something wrong with you .Seek theropy.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  8. connye524

    I want to participate in a discussion about this issue, but the comments are so biased and disrespectful that I hesitate. I am not a "fundie"...quite the opposite, but I am not whatever you guys are either. This cant be a conversation re adults... its just a sad statement of affairs. And how does "I am anit fundamentalists" have to be "there is no God". The danger is that these type of comments force moderate people to the conservative side, because some of us who truly are liberal thinking translate in outlandish language.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
  9. Hebrewstwothree

    RomansΒ 1:24-32
    Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • American Me

      Then their behavior is between them and god. Let him deal with them and worry about yourself.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Kevin Cantu

      there's a little gift that God gave mankind. It's called freewill. You might want to look that up before you spew out anything else and by the way nice cut and paste job too(Thumbs Up)

      August 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • OldMan

      Leviticus also says that eating shellfish is an abomination to God.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • Kateh

      I don't think God needs mankinds help to delve out punishment for moral issues. Move on......if you believe in God, he has it covered.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
    • JD

      I know another group that likes to govern by their religious book.....the Taliban! Last I checked most conservatives are not fans of them. I guess you hate people just like you huh?

      August 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  10. Mary

    Since the judge has changed the definition of marriage does that mean that Muslims and Mormons will be next in line to ask that marriage include more than one spouse. Maybe women will ask for more than one spouse as well. I know it sounds farfetched but once upon a time gay marriage sounded farfetched. Now, the definition of marriage will continue to change.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • GMD

      The point is that the church has no place in our secular government. Because your religious beliefs do not recognize gay marriage is neither here nor there, so don't have a gay marriage. But a religious institution has no right to impose its views on a secular society. In addition there are religious polygamous marriages that are recognized by their churches everyday all over this country.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
    • Amy J.

      Once upon a time, interracial marriage seemed far-fetched.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • Paul

      "No brutality, no infamy, no degradation in all the years of southern slavery, possessed such villainious character and such atrocious qualities as the provision of the laws of Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states which allow the marriage of the negro, Jack Johnson, to a woman of Caucasian strain. [applause]. Gentleman, I offer this resolution ... that the States of the Union may have an opportunity to ratifty it. ... Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant to the very principles of Saxon government. It is subversive of social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery of white women to black beasts will bring this nation a conflict as fatal as ever reddened the soil of Virginia or crimsoned the mountain paths of Pennsylvania. ... Let us uproot and exterminate now this debasing, ultra-demoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy" Rep. Seaborn Roddenbery, proposal to amend constitution to ban interracial marriage, 1912.




      August 4, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
  11. SaintGenesius

    Weren't these conservatives the ones who brought us the concept of strict adherence to the Constitution? When it is abortion, they claim there is nothing in the Constitution about a woman's right to choose. When it is gay marriage, they claim there IS something there –although only they can see it.

    Conservatives proved gay marriage is a righty under the constitution when they pushed for an anti-gay marriage amendment. Wouldn't need an amendment if the gay marriage was already illegal under the Constitution.

    I say, no more special rights for heterosexuals.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  12. John for Jesus and Gay Marriage

    in fact did you all know that the Wedding March played at all of your straight weddings was written by Richard Wagner who was a gay composer and with Ludwig II of Bavaria Germany. He wrote it to be played while him and his lover rode in a swan boat togather in a cave built by Ludwig the II. It was written for gay love.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  13. Rich

    what is this "biased way" the judge conducted the case? Read the opinion. The proponents offered very little in defense of hetero-only marriage.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  14. Jerry

    Marriage is a legal state, not a moral one. Most marriages prior to the Industrial Revolution were "common law". Marriage gained legal status because insurance companies needed case law to decide who legal heirs and beneficiaries were. It is not a giant leap to let the gay community enjoy the privileges the heterosexual community does. If the Neo-Conservative religious commuties are so worried about this and want tell us what we should think and do, how does that make them any different from the Taliban who cut off women's noses, ears and will stone them to death. With the Neo-Conservative's opinion on this, does this put them above or equal to those who support the harsh sanctions of Sharia Law? I gladly support the separation of church and state because if we followed only church law, we would still be burning people at the stake.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:55 pm |
    • mike cutter

      Excellent. Religious extremists of any stripe are dangerous to the rest of us, if we do not bow and conform to their beliefs. The Inquisition appears to be alive and well in the world today, Christian or Muslim.

      August 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm |
  15. wcnea567

    Conservatives like to limit individual freedom but let businesses do whatever they want to cheat their customers and the public.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
    • mike cutter

      Good point about "conservatives" picking and choosing where and when government can interfere.
      Deregulating business to the point of the economy collapsing is good, but allowing individuals the right to live their lives without interference in the bedroom or the doctors office (see..abortion and/or birth control) is bad.
      Interesting logic but it shows the obvious prejudice and bias of the "morally superior" religious right.
      I thought their god was the final judge, not people. Note "their god" not God, two very separate concepts.

      August 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  16. ed

    Did the judge ignore Renalds vrs the United States? Will marrage be open to any definition? Is it Warren Jeff's right to marry underage girls because it is his right to practice polygammy? Does the Congress or the State have the rite to define anything in relationships? This ruling should be overturned.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:47 pm |
    • Rich

      if you read the opinion, you will note the judge referenced hundreds of cases. Your underage girls argument is ridiculous – this applies to consenting adults. The pdf of the opinion is at sfgate dot com.

      August 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
    • Jerry

      Ed, you are wrong. Follow the law in legal matters, follow your religious beliefs... so far this is a legal matter, not a religious on.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  17. Ken Margo

    We should let gays marry. It'll be good for the economy. Gay couples will spend money to celebrate their union. Why don't we allow gays to marry and wait for a signal from God to see if he is unhappy? If god can land planes in the hudson, he can give us a signal if he doesn't like gay marriage.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
  18. garrak

    A ceremony does not make a marriage legal. A marriage becomes legal when a piece of paper is signed by two people entering a contract, a witness or two, and an authorized agent of the state. That document must then be filed to be legal. However nice a religious ceremony may be it does not make someone married. Religious rituals should have no baring on the legality of marriage...period. for the record I am a straight Catholic girl.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  19. BaconBoy

    Why any group would want to deny another from entering into a legally binding contract is beyond me.

    Think of the money states will get charging for marriage licenses now!

    I don't agree with the Family Research Council. They're certainly entitled to their opinion but they are using fear to create a second-class citizen system.

    August 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  20. Steve

    One doesn't need a bible, a pastor or an imam to be told what is right, albeit many people believe they do. I will not infringe upon the establishment of religion as long as religion doesn't infridge the happiness of people. Even Thomas Jefferson believed in the firm separation of church and state.

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State".

    -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802

    August 4, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • Michael

      Steve great post, thanks for sharing the quote. Just don't see such eloquence and clear communication as Jefferson displays in this brief passage anymore. Churches can (and should be allowed even with this ruling) decide/restrict who they want to marry, the government should not opine or restrict marriage between consenting non-related adults.

      FYI, I am conservative, straight, married man with three kids and very happy to see this ruling, hope it holds up all the way through the Supreme Court

      August 4, 2010 at 8:04 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.