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Losing streak lengthens for foes of gay marriage

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:35 a.m. HST, Jun 15, 2014


For foes of same-sex marriage, their losing streak keeps growing. Some sense a lost cause, others vow to fight on.

On Election Day in 2012, they went 0-for-4 on state ballot measures. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages. And over the past seven months, more than a dozen federal and state judges have struck down part or all of state-level bans on gay marriage, with no rulings going the other way.

Faced with these developments, some longtime opponents of gay marriage now say that its nationwide legalization via a Supreme Court ruling is inevitable. Others refuse to concede, and some leaders of that cohort will be rallying Thursday at a March for Marriage in Washington that they hope will draw many thousands.

The event's main sponsor is the National Organization for Marriage, which engaged in several successful state campaigns against gay marriage prior to the 2012 votes in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state that reversed the tide.

NOM is promoting the march with a website that evokes a "road to victory" and a video featuring dramatic background music.

"A competition is won by those who take the field, not by those who sit on the sidelines," NOM's president, Brian Brown, exhorts his supporters. "Friends, we need to take the field for marriage -- and fight to win."

Brown, in a telephone interview, said his best-case scenario hinged on a future ruling by the Supreme Court upholding the right of states to set their own marriage laws, rather than imposing same-sex marriage nationwide. Such a ruling would strengthen the position of the 31 states that currently ban gay marriage and might encourage grass-roots efforts in some of the other states to reimpose bans, Brown said.

"We'd put this back in the hands of the democratic process," Brown said. "We would have the people deciding for themselves."

If the Supreme Court ruled the other way, legalizing gay marriage nationwide, "We won't go away," Brown said.

He envisioned a resistance campaign comparable to that waged by the anti-abortion movement since the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established a nationwide right to abortion.

"In the next year or so, we'll either have a massive victory at the Supreme Court, or we'll need to fight for 10, 20 years to undo the damage that the court has done," Brown said.

Among the scheduled speakers at the march is Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal group that has fought in court on behalf of laws banning gay marriage.

Nimocks argues that America would be better off if the Supreme Court allowed the current split among the states to continue, along with the public debate over the repercussions of gay marriage.

"America has not fallen apart because some states have same-sex marriage and others do not," he said. "We've been managing that for 10 years."

While Nimocks and Brown are optimistic that the Supreme Court won't impose same-sex marriage, other veterans of the fight against it think differently.

"Let's face it: Anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn't been observing what's going on," Sen. Orrin Hatch, a seven-term conservative Republican from Utah, told a radio interviewer last month.

Maggie Gallagher, a former president of the National Organization for Marriage, also expects that outcome. In a recent blog post, she said gay-marriage opponents needed to regroup and recognize that they have become "a subculture facing a dominant culture."

"The way you keep a movement going is to define achievable victories," she said in an interview. "The marriage movement is in the process of trying to figure out what that is."

A leading advocate of same-sex marriage, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, said his adversaries have been placed in an ever-weakening position by trends in public opinion polls and by the recent court rulings. One after another, the judges have said they heard no convincing argument why gay couples should be denied the marriage rights afforded to opposite-sex couples.

"All the defenses of discrimination conjured up by the dwindling hard-core of opponents have been exposed as indefensible, insufficient, or untrue," said Wolfson.

In the political realm, Democrats increasingly see advocacy of gay marriage as a winning position, while the Republican Party -- whose 2012 national platform opposes gay marriage -- is now experiencing some divisions.

In several states, some GOP leaders have objected to planks in the state party platform that oppose same-sex marriage. Also, several of the GOP governors whose states are among those allowing gay marriage have accepted the new reality rather than continue railing against it.

In Congress, conservative Republicans have introduced two bills opposing same-sex marriage, but neither has drawn strong support even within GOP ranks. One would require the federal government to defer to state marriage laws, including those banning gay marriage; the other would amend the U.S. Constitution to limit marriage to the union of one man and one woman.

Amid the string of defeats in court, many opponents of gay marriage have focused their wrath on the judges making those decisions.

Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, depicted the rulings as "judicial tyranny." Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- who'll be a featured speaker at Thursday's march -- called for the impeachment of the judge who struck down his state's gay-marriage ban.

"When members of the judiciary act as if they were entitled to the power of all three branches of government, it creates a disturbing abuse of power," Huckabee said in an email to The Associated Press.

Some conservative groups have launched fundraising appeals decrying recent cases where prominent people lost jobs or business opportunities because of their opposition to same-sex marriage. The Family Research Council, for example, depicted as "thuggery" the pressure that led to the resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who had supported a 2008 campaign against gay marriage in California.

"Our ability to express ourselves in the public sphere must never be repressed by the tyranny of political correctness," wrote the council's president, Tony Perkins, in a letter to supporters. "We must never submit to the radical leftist redefinition of human sexuality."

Perkins' group is a co-sponsor of Thursday's march, as is the Coalition of African-American Pastors. The coalition's leader, the Rev. Bill Owens, says he will intensify his advocacy work in black churches, seeking to make the case that same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue.

Another co-sponsor is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which is organizing a bus fleet to carry parishioners to the march.

One of the scheduled speakers is the Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' subcommittee on the promotion and defense of marriage.

A coalition of liberal politicians and gay-rights leaders in California has issued an open letter to Cordileone, urging him to skip the march. Many of the other scheduled speakers "have repeatedly denigrated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," said the letter, suggesting the archbishop shouldn't align with such viewpoints.

Along with the Catholic Church, several other major denominations remain adamant in opposing same-sex marriage.

"We stand strong on what the Scripture says about marriage between a man and a woman," said the Rev. Ronnie Floyd after his recent election as new president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

A top Mormon leader reiterated opposition to gay marriage during the biannual general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April.

"While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," said Neil Andersen.







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localguy wrote:
NOM's president, Brian Brown, is basically the little boy trying to plug all the water leaks in the dam with his fingers. Used to be he could stop the leaks, block gay marriages. Supreme Court just put a major whole in his dam with smaller ones popping up all over. Brian needs to realize his cause is lost. Supreme Court has spoken. Resistance to gay marriages is futile. He will become one with them.
on June 15,2014 | 08:52AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
He should probably just consider minding his own business. Equality is winning.
on June 15,2014 | 12:25PM
honupono wrote:
what's the point to this story? It seems like this paper or its parent company loves to continue to stir the pot. I feel as if it has conservative roots in much of its coverage by the choice of stories it prints and by the viewpoint of its staff. The fact that same sex rulings have been having the kind of outcomes could have been covered from the viewpoint of the successes of the plaintiffs however all you see after a ruling is handed down, is how the opponents are not giving up to up hold "family values". The pendulum is leaning towards the majority of states striking down the constitutionality of same sex bans at the state level. The Supreme Court wanted the issue to be fought and decided at the state level and as such is providing the state supreme courts ruling same sex marriage bans as unconstitutional. Once the majority of states rule it unconstitutional, the Supreme Court will rule that it is federally unconstitutional. There is no controversy this will happen.
on June 15,2014 | 12:36PM
Nultech wrote:
The point is, some folks want to know how their fight is going, regardless of which side they are on. This is precisely why news was invented.
on June 15,2014 | 12:54PM
honupono wrote:
I get that. But is there a story for the other point of view? About how the ruling has changed the lives of SSM participants? To show that good can come from allowing SSM? If that happens, I would read both pieces and feel like the paper is objective and equal in its coverage.
on June 15,2014 | 05:11PM
daniwitz13 wrote:
I beg to differ on the win-ability of SSM under better scrutiny. It seems that these Lawyers and Judges are incredibly clueless on this novelty issue. They are acknowledging that no good arguments are presented against SSM, does NOT mean that there are none. There are so many out there, but clueless Lawyers are clueless still and don't know where to look and to be discovered. When they do and finally see Homosexuality for what it is, it will be its demise. The SCOTUS will be made aware of them, and rule to shut down SSM entirely. That day will come soon. Pity
on June 15,2014 | 01:09PM
klastri wrote:
And what, exactly, would those arguments be? A lot of people other than lawyers have been trying to find a reason - any reason - to support their religious hocus pocus reasoning. You have the Real Truth? Let's hear it. Homosexuality has been around forever. Since the bias against it is a generational thing, as the people fighting against equality are silenced by death or old age, gay men and women just become more visible. Nothing has changed except a reduction in ignorance and bigotry, and factual interpretations of the constitution. I've argued this in appellate court, and I end up feeling sorry for people on the other side who argue for state bigotry against gay people. Their arguments are pathetic and unconstitutional, and I make it my business to deliberately make them look like modern day KKK members on the stand. They do not deserve better treatment.
on June 15,2014 | 01:31PM
honupono wrote:
Amen. Providing equal rights to marry is not a magnanimous act. To me, it is the Right outcome. People using religious beliefs to discriminate is what is appalling. The majority of Americans believe that SSM is about equality.
on June 15,2014 | 04:57PM
GorillaSmith wrote:
How pathetic are these closeted, self-hating gays who persist in their zeal to overturn SSM?
on June 15,2014 | 01:25PM
AniMatsuri wrote:
This has pretty much been forced down our throats like Obamacare. If public sentiment was so overwhelming for same sex marriage, advocates would not only welcome public votes they would call for them. Instead, they lean on politicians to vote their way and shop around for judges likely to rule the way they want.
on June 15,2014 | 06:07PM
Mypualani wrote:
Oh really? and just exactly "what was shoved down your throat? please do tell! are you being forced to marry someone of the same sex? are you being forced to perform marriages to same sex couples? as for Obama care you may as well make the argument that you are being forced to pay taxes, for to pay your portion for Social Security! marriage has nothing to do with your so called Obama care. what you are being forced to deal with is the fact that there should be equality for all, and that you are not as special as you seem to think you are!
on June 15,2014 | 09:40PM
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