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. GDB

    A God that doesn't love all good people seems like a biggot, but since that isn't possible, have you considered changing faiths to something less hateful?

    August 4, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
  2. David Johnson


    Bless you Amy! No one can ask for more than a division of church and state!

    August 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm |
    • migehill

      David, exactly how many times a day are you riding the hershey highway?

      August 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      why does supporting separation of church and state make Dave gay? talk about something that just doesn't follow....

      I suppose that would give whole new meaning to the "founding fathers"...

      August 5, 2010 at 12:49 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "David, exactly how many times a day are you riding the hershey highway?"

      I am not gay. I have been married to the same woman for 30 years. We have one daughter.

      I believe in separation of church and state. I am pro-choice. I am agnostic. I am agnostic, only because I believe it impossible to be an atheist.

      So tell me what your story is. Are you a member of the religious right? Is that why you attacked me personally?

      August 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  3. Regertz

    Apparently He or She or It made all of them. Unless you are claiming ole Lucifer had the power to create. In which case, in the name of the Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church I declare you a heretic and sentence you to burn.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  4. Billionaire

    Conservative Republicans just want to shove their idea of what is moral down everyone's throat and will do so by attempting to use the government to intrude on our rights just like they always have.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, that's why we must vote the racist Republicans out of office. Vote for the Dems in November

      August 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm |
  5. Matthew Schubert

    50 years from now (similar to the civil rights movement in the 60's now 50 years ago), people on the bigot side of this debate will likely be vilinized in movies and history books as they are today. Have fun with that.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  6. downinfront

    Excellent ruling. Hatred should be illegal. Shocking how the so-called religious are capable of so much of it.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  7. Brent

    Let em marry. It won't affect me or my marriage and it is none of my business. Conservative supporters are being a bit hypocritical with this issue.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  8. ant

    What about father's and their adult sons? Can they marry? If not, why not? It doesn't hurt anyone right? Don't they have rights? Are people who think they shouldn't marry bigots? I bring this up because everyone has their limits about what should be and shouldn't be in society. I *hope* most people think that allowing father's and son's to marry is a sick proposition. Is it so far of a stretch to think that there others that don't want gays and lesbians to marry...and for similar reasons? Maybe someone of my liberal friends will concede me this point.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Actually, the reason incest is illegal has nothing to do with morality. It has to do with inbreeding. Inbreeding inherently hurts society because you wind up with more prevalent negative genes (mostly recessives that only show up when both parents contribute the same defective gene).

      Law is there to benefit society. Banning gay marriage cannot be demonstrative shown to benefit society. How about you read the Iowa Supreme Court opinion? They looked at it just about every singular secular way possible and found no reasons to sustain the discrimination.

      August 5, 2010 at 12:47 am |
    • Guy Montag

      That was some of the dumbest, most illogical rationale I've ever hear. Stop watching Fox News, stop being a Religious sheep, and stop halting the advancement of society.

      Gay rights all the way!

      August 5, 2010 at 12:59 am |
  9. Rob

    Please cite the peer-reviewed research that establishes that homosexuals are "born" that way due to genetic predisposition. What do you mean ... you can't? If you can't produce any reputable research findings to prove your hypothesis that homosexuals are born physiologically wired from conception to be homosexually-oriented, then you cannot make the statement that homosexuals are "born" that way. However, you can cite peer-reviewed research that conclusively proves men and women are born to reproduce homo sapiens through heterosexual intercourse that is erotically pleasurable to them. There is no natural way to reproduce the human species homosexually.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Canuck PhD

      Try these:

      New evidence of genetic factors influencing sexual orientation in men: Female fecundity increase in the maternal line. Iemmola, Francesca; Ciani, Andrea Camperio Archives of Sexual Behavior Vol 38(3)2009 p.393-399 Springer, Germany

      Eye color, hair color, blood type, and the rhesus factor: Exploring possible genetic links to sexual orientation. Ellis, Lee; Ficek, Christopher; Burke, Donald; Das, Shyamal Archives of Sexual Behavior Vol 37(1)2008 p.145-149 Springer, Germany

      Potential for homosexual response is prevalent and genetic. Santtila, Pekka; Sandnabba, N. Kenneth; Harlaar, Nicole; Varjonen, Markus; Alanko, Katarina; von der Pahlen, Bettina Biological Psychology Vol 77(1)2008 p.102-105 Elsevier Science, Netherlands

      The Genetics of Sexual Orientation. Hyde, Janet Shibley 2005 p.9-20 Biological substrates of human sexuality. American Psychological Association

      The research on sexual orientation is not absolutely conclusive, but it is strongly suggestive. However, I find the idea that lesbian or gay persons would "choose" to be lesbian or gay is ludicrous. Who, in their right mind, would "choose" a so-called "lifestyle" that results in so much hatred, discrimination, and even violence from those whom are heterosexual? As an empiricist, I find it interesting to observe that those whom demand "absolute proof" regarding issues with which they disagree are usually those whom express their opinions often as "facts."

      August 4, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  10. davew

    Okay, since so many people are opposed to gay marriage or gay people in general, I have a solution... in order to assist them to live the life that we (and when I say we, I don't include myself, cause really, I don't care) want them to live and as quickly as possible, we need to make this an effective transition. In order to do so, all those gay men and lesbian ladies need adult partners of the opposite sex, particularly ones that they will find attractive. Since the dating scene is not a predictable way of handling this, we need to turn over all of our wives, girlfriends, husbands, boyfriends, adult single children, etc. to the ex-gay/ex-lesbian society for partners. After all, its the next to the least that we can do... the most least that we can do is stop having any sort of sex in our bedrooms that is beyond standard missionary position because that is as equally as wrong as any homosexual activity.

    Do we have an agreement?

    August 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  11. pkrtbx

    "And here you have a judge saying seven million people (who supported California's Proposition) don't matter."

    This is exactly what LDS and conservative religious et al. don't understand...when it comes to a civil/constitutional rights issue, they absolutely DON'T matter. Neither does the opinion of the 48% that opposed prop 8. All that matters is whether the constitutional protection exists, and the court has said that it does. That this even got to the point of a popular referendum is shameful.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
  12. Andrew in Delaware

    Loving V. Virginia (1967) is fundamentally parallel to this issue. Conservatives bristle at this argument and shy away from recognizing that it is the same. Explain to me how it is different... but of course, you're going to say I can't equate sexuality with race... and I'll call you a bigot who discriminates.

    The state does not have the power to discriminate when there is no interest to do so. The American Psychological Association declared 30 years ago that homosexuality is not a 'harmful' behavior. It is up to the supreme court to save the minority from the will of the majority.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • Paul

      You can't equate sexuality to race, but you can equate gender/sex to race. You cannot choose your sex/gender any more than you can choose your race. Prop 8 doesn't mention gay or straight, it specifically mentions male and female, sexes. That just as bad as the laws that said a black person could only marry another black person.

      If your going to equate sexuality to Loving v. Virginia, then equate it to interracial coupling. Interracial coupling is a choice. Homosexuality may not even be a choice, in the sense that a gay person cannot have a healthy sex life with a person of the opposite sex. It's like giving a person allergic to peanuts a ham sandwich and a peanut butter sandwich and claiming that you have a choice. The peanut butter could kill you, so you hardly feel that's a choice at all, but if the person giving you the sandwiches does not know you are allergic to peanuts, then they will claim you "chose" the ham sandwich or that the ham sandwich is only a "preference" of yours. It's not a preference, eating the peanut butter would be extremely bad for your health, it could even kill you. Entering into a relationship with a person of a sex that you have absolutely no sexual attraction for is bad for your mental health as it can cause severe depression among other things. It's NOT a choice. Even if it was, interracial coupling IS a choice, but we had no problem telling the 70% of Americans who disagreed with that choice that interracial couples have a right to be treated equally, and thus be allowed to marry.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  13. john lindauer

    ronald reagan believed in smaller gov't. less regulation and more freedom.

    he believed that americans have common sense. and where common sense should prevail, no law is necessary.

    common sense dictates:

    if you don't like gay marriage, don't marry someone who is gay.

    (no law required, just common sense.)

    you don't want a gov't that's SO POWERFUL that it can tell you who to marry. seriously folks.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  14. PDXSerric

    I guess the proponents should have actually brought some witnesses to this trial if it was that important to them. The fact they didn’t speaks volumes.

    And, by the way… who’s paying for all of this? Could it be, you and me?

    How about we call it a day and just say everyone is equal and has equal rights and stop with this “you can’t play with our toys” mentality already?

    August 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  15. Bruce

    I agree with Matt our country is founded on civil rights, freedom and the pursuit of happiness, it is gratifying to see these moments of success for the country.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  16. redrose999

    it's ok for conservative government to control what you do in your private life. This is what they call freedom.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  17. Matt

    In the end, civil rights will always win the day. Sometimes it takes a long while, but ultimately it does prevail. Today is just one small step.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  18. John

    The quakers and the pilgrims ruined this perfectly good land and erased equal rights years ago the indians love gay people. to bad they were killed off and converted to christianity by theose tyrants Hitler got his ideas from someone

    August 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • Canuck PhD

      Actually, Hitler makes reference several times to Christianity in Mein Kampf; e.g., "I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."

      August 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm |
  19. 1Taylor

    I am a straight atheist married for 32 years and the best thought I have seen in these postings is to tax the churches. I am sure the founding fathers didn't envision mega-churches and the charlatans on TV telling me what Jesus told them.

    I say if you want a role in government, pay for it.

    August 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  20. montyross

    the law from moses aka god says man shall not lie with man like he lays a woman,hey the skies blue but its not in red words.....

    August 4, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
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About this blog

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.