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. Eric G

    The conservatives are right!!!!! We liberals are going to get all the gays married, have them quit their jobs and go on welfare so we can have a rally at the abortion clinic where we will march to conservatives houses to take their guns!!!!! It's all comming together!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • David Johnson

      That was funny!

      August 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  2. rrock

    All the right wingers want government out of or lives except when it comes to their version of morality.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  3. waymorefunwithtoys

    If you're against gay marriage please tell me how this affects your life? I'm happy for everyone who's been waiting for this to happen.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  4. CaliforniaBC

    Sooooooo...it's okay for conservatives to scream about big government intruding on THEIR lives but it's just fine if they want to dictate who can get married or what a woman does wit her own body? Funny how everything they do just screams hypocrisy.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:59 pm |
    • Jane

      Conservatives are doing nothing but fighting everything called progress, they can fight all they want , this will eventually become law of the land and we will all survive. and probably wonder why all the fuss. Jane

      August 4, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  5. GodIsForImbeciles

    Can't ya just hear all those republicans gasping at the thought of two gay people enjoying their lives?! I love it when the religious right takes it in the...It's their secret desire!

    August 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • migehill's bunghole

      @migehill – you display such intellect with your choice of words. Have you reached puberty yet?

      August 4, 2010 at 10:27 pm |
    • PointedEars

      You win the money shot!

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

    How in God's name does this even affect these selfish conservatives? It's called free will people. As long as they don't prevent you from getting married what gives these conservatives the right to prevent them? This is absolutely horrible! I can't believe this concept hasn't been assimilated yet by these conservatives.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  7. Soporifix

    There is only one argument in favor of Prop 8: "I want my prejudice made into a law."

    August 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
  8. Amy J.

    To compare Perry v. Schwarzenegger to Roe v. Wade is not apples to apples; a more accurate comparison would be to Loving v. Virginia.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  9. hoeech

    Interesting...conservatives fighting to make sure government intrudes even MORE into the private lives of American citizens.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  10. Joe Palooka

    Bring it on! This is a fight that conservatives can't win and shouldn't even be fighting!

    August 4, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
  11. Matthew Temple

    Yeah, Yeah "God will have the last word" Whatever. You just use God as an excuse for your hate. Oh and to raise money. After all Hate sells. I seriously doubt you have the courage it takes to be a real Christian as is evidenced by the threat of eternal damnation implied in your text.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  12. OldLarry

    As always, it's mostly about money and control. Employers don't want to pay for for same gender partner benefits (and adopted or other 'unnaturally obtained' offspring GL couples might have). Religion is all about controlling thought and behavior. Have a beer, eat a pork chop and wear whatever you like. GL couples are no better or worse than the rest of us.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • Joe Palooka

      Don't forget, Larry, there are hardly any employers left that offer benefits. What will they scream about now?

      August 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  13. Jesus

    Actually, now that I think of it, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan goes against the Ten Commandments. And a conservative religious America seems to accept that. Hmmmm....

    August 4, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
  14. David Johnson

    Don't you think it's kinda silly to type all in caps, like you are speaking for god?

    It's just you pastor. God isn't yelling. LOL. LOL 'till my sides ache.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm |
  15. Terry

    I did not know that Tony Perkins was gay. Is he planning a coming out wedding in San Francisco? I read about Perkins on WikiLeaks.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:34 pm |
  16. Jesus

    I'm okay with it. I believe people can make choices that effect their own lives and don't hurt others. Each of us must follow our own path and there is nothing in the Ten Commandments against it.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    There is no god pastor. You are praying to the wind.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
  18. Dott

    Those that use the argument, " why don't we let people marry dogs, or sisters, or multiple partners miss the point. Straight people can't marry dogs etc.. The gay people I know just want the same rights as everybody else. Married couples have rights and privilage that non married people don't have.

    August 4, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Here again, incest makes children with webbed feet. Bad for society. Gay marriage not the same as marrying an animal.

      August 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  19. Scott

    I think it is unfortunate that this article labels the group fighting this as conservative... as if somehow anyone who considers oneself to be a conservative is on the opposite side of this issue. I am a conservative, and I believe the truly conservative stance on this issue involves wanting government out of the marriage business altogether. Marriage is a religious institution. Why would any God-loving human want government defining any part of one's religion?

    August 4, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Guy Montag

      Marriage stopped being about religion when it became recognized by the Federal Government for Tax Exempt Policies.

      That said, screw religion, its an archaic, evil institute and I look forward to the day when the religious crowd is in the minority. Religion overall is on a slow downward slant as science and reason become acceptable societal norms, and I rue only the fact that I probably won't live to see it in its final decline.

      August 5, 2010 at 1:02 am |
  20. Gretchen

    fr dp:

    >...Let it happen and leave it to churches to decide, because the church made the term marriage! ...<

    Um, no. Marriage is a legal contract, and the church did NOT "make the term marriage".

    August 4, 2010 at 9:21 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.