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. The Good Fight

    Fight, fight, fight! We have to keep fighting this. This isn't a civil rights issue, this is a "I'm sexually deviant, and you need to give me special privileges." I'm so sick of being bashed for my beliefs, but we are supposed to be so accepting of gays and forcing their lifestyle on us, changing our laws to fit their lifestyle. Why don't they accept our laws? And fit their deviant life style into our existing laws. And why was a gay judge allowed to preside? One gay judge overruled the vote of 7 million people. How fair is that?

    August 4, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • mike cutter

      What "special privileges", please be specific.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
  2. Spencer

    The constitution of the united states is not a moral constitution, that is because everyone's morals are different. But what it can do is make equal rights for everyone under it.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  3. Get over it

    Doesn't matter if gays were born that way or choose to live that way. It's their life, their bedroom, and their damned choice. For you bible thumpers demanding they have no rights, until you are ready for me to dictate to you which denomination I choose for you to belong to, shut your damned mouths about over who others choose to spend their lives with.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • YoungPeter

      Are they typing with their tongues? Did I just say that? ZOMG!

      August 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  4. TheRadicalLiberal

    It is about time that these fundamental Christians learned that working to deprive people of rights is un-American. Period.

    Or those who say it is as American as applie pie – ok, but it is the very worst of what it means to be American. Expanding human rights is what we should be about. That is what made us great.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  5. MARK

    It appears that the right wing Christian Zelotts are acting more like the soldiers of the devil. Our country is soo uptight . All should have the same rights either gay or non gay and that includes marriage. These religous activists should play with the devil as he is the one who they owe their allegiance.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm |

    How come Republicans don't condemn priests?

    August 4, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • STOFHT

      If marriage between same sex partners is un-natural, isn't abstaining from sex also un-natural?

      August 4, 2010 at 11:06 pm |

    You can't teach GAY...its genetic! Can we just acknowledge them as citizens with equal rights and move on? Please!

    August 4, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
  8. Tiredofreligion

    God made it so that only one man and one woman can conceive, therefore it is the only choice?????

    Which god? Yaweh, Allah, Kali, Shiva, Buddah, Lucifer, The Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Why do you take your cues from any of these? The only people who fear gay marriage are the ones afraid they may become gay.

    Show me what verse in the Bible says Judge not is not true. Come on bible thumpers... tell me why it is ok to hate. Off to westboro with you all.

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

    It seems to me that hompsexuality is probably genetic because it becomes evident in so many during childhood. I doubt that we ever know the frequency in the population accurately. Somewhere between 2 and 5 per cent is a reasonable guess.It is an article of faith for genetecists that entities that common in the population have survival value for the population. I have encountered only one reasonable suggestion that was proposed years ago by surgeon on NPR.

    During most of human existance on earth, humans have lived in hunting and gathering groups in which children were cared for more or less communally, he posited. Parents needed a great deal of help raising their offspring. Groups that had several homosexual couples who assisted in child rearing but did not add children of their own to tjhe group gave the group a survival advntage.

    I leave it to the readers to decide whether that is reasonable.

    August 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
  10. bobbbbb

    Just stop please. Enough is enough. You dont have to be present in the bedroom while all the what have you is happening between the same sex partners so just stop. If you are a christian, conservative or both, please just show some compassion and or tolerance. If you believe in god then dont worry, if these people are doing evil god will punish them when the time comes, it is not your job to punish others so please just stop. I happen to not believe in god but if you do thats cool (my example of showing tolerance to the religies) so just stop. Please. Enough is enough.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  11. Page

    Tony Perkins states 7 million people supported Prop 8 as a justification that it should be upheld. That was 52 % of the vote. So if 52 % of the people vote for Tony Perkins to be tarred and feathered, does that make it right? Of course not. Our country is based on equality for ALL, not just on the beliefs of a slim majority. Anyone who supports Tony Perkins should be ashamed that he believes that 52% should have the right to legislate morality for everyone else. And he is supposed to be a religious caring person. This is not as issue of majority vote, but what is the right thing to do.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • American

      And I'm sure the majority of people in Kansas what have supported continuing racial segregation of schools in 1954. Thank God for those "activist" judges on the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education.

      August 4, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  12. northcali

    My two brothers and I were raised in a gay family environment and we are all firmly heterosexual with never a doubt. I have real life experience that proves life is not just black and white.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  13. Jesus Christ

    what were you all thinking when you started listening to me? i'm not even real!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
    • Satan

      i know, dude! we really got 'em good!

      August 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      lol totally

      August 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
    • STOFHT

      You deserve a medal for that one! BRAVO!

      August 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
  14. Jake Sully

    There was no Adam and Eve. The Bible is Bronze Age mythology. We evolved.

    Also, gays are born gay, and the Constitution protects minorities from the tyranny of the majority. This ruling is enlightened.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
  15. AChristianAlso

    Romans 1 is quoted here and lists all sorts of nasty things including gossip, arrogance and boastfulness. What the Holier Than crowd fails to mention is that following those words used to support their hate is the very next sentence, in Romans 2:

    "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?"

    Their moral/legal argument is illogical, according to their own Holy Scripture. They shout "sin" ... yet, sin is sin and all folks sin, including themselves. They just think God sees their sins as less than the rest. They've been saved so they can sin without consequence. Convenient, huh? THAT's why Jesus said "Judge not, lest you be judged."

    August 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm |
    • STOFHT

      There are going to be alot of Republicans burning for eternity!

      August 4, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • NL

      Hmmm... Hell being filled with Republicans! That's the best argument for hoping there's a Heaven my atheist ears have heard in a long time! 😉

      August 5, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
  16. biggeorge22

    People get over yourselves. Straight people have made a silly mess of marriage. Let gays have their turn, they have to be able to do better then a 65% divorce rate in the good old USA! They pay taxes, fight in the military and are born here. Like it or not they have the same rights. Even though I don't like it being called marriage. I prefer the name Civil Unions, but I can live with it and so can you...

    August 4, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  17. centralcali

    It can make them more subjective to it though. Do not be ignorant. Abusive men in relationships usually were abused by a family member. You form to your environmemt, I don't care what you say.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
    • northcali

      My two brothers and I were raised in a gay family environment and we are all firmly heterosexual with never a doubt. I have experience which trumps your ignorant bias.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:41 pm |
  18. Olivia

    This country is becoming another dictatorship. The people votes do not matter.... so why even bother. I do not believe in same sex marriage but that is not the point here. The POINT is that the people of California voted.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Eric G

      You are correct. The point is that the people voted. The point is that our Constitution exists to protect the minority from the majority. The point is that you need to take a civics class. Do you think we should throw out the Constitution because the majority vote? Do you think George Bush should not have been president because he did not have a majority vote? The Constitution does not exist to give you the right to force your views on others, it exists to protect others from your views.

      August 8, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  19. centralcali

    So I agree that people may be born more feminine or more manly, that I do believe. But allowing gays and lesbians to wed opens a new argument, and that is raising children. Since they were "born" that way they honestly have no choice in the matter. But how about those kids that they will be raising, will they be "born" that way or adapt to the environment they see. I feel if we do this we will have more and more of this happening and it isn't because they were born differently it would be because they didn't have a choice. Let them have the same rights just don't make it a marriage ceremony. One man and one woman can create a child, not two men or two woman, God especially made it that way. Our country is screwed up and we have a long way to go to make it right.

    August 4, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • northcali

      Being around gays doesn't make one gay. But being raised by caring parents does make one much more caring.

      August 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
    • AChristianAlso

      So children born of racists have no choice but to be racist? Horrors, "let them have the same rights just don't make it a marriage ceremony." So children born of college basketball fans have no choice but to be college basketball fans? Horrors, "let them have the same rights just don't make it a marriage ceremony." So children born of ______ (fill in your current hated humans here, because you don't have a choice) ...

      August 4, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
    • mike cutter

      Making the country "right" does not mean making everyone in YOUR image. This country was based on freedom of choice in most areas of life, i.e., life and liberty within the law.
      Although it is considered dirty fighting, the comparison of the US "conservatives" to the Nazi party seems very valid. The Nazis killed gays as a matter of course, even though there were many gay Nazi officials. Demonizing others is a great diversion from the reality of evil.

      August 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • tlctaurus

      You're an idiot. FYI – both of my parents are straight and I am not, but my brother is.... Hmmm...wrap your narrow mind around that.

      August 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  20. Rural Liberal

    I love how the teabaggers that scream the loudest about "freedom" are the first to use vague biblical verses (that are irrelevant to real life, no less) to oppress others that are distasteful by their obsolete standards. What a weird definition of "freedom."

    August 4, 2010 at 10:21 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.