For now, Christian conservative activists have a cushion. Gay marriage is banned in the constitutions of 30 states, and even though nationally, a growing majority of Americans supports a right to same-sex marriage, many individual states still tilt against it. Social conservative leaders also have a ready army of supporters, easily reached through churches and representing a significant portion of the Republican Party’s base.
Keeping the traditional-marriage-only wing of the GOP from becoming demoralized will be part of the battle. But after Wednesday’s rulings – which struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to a resumption of gay marriages in California – conservative leaders expressed hope that their supporters would be all the more motivated to keep fighting.
Some leaders took a glass-half-full approach to the decisions, applauding the justices for, at least, not establishing a national right to same-sex marriage as the high court did for abortion in the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade. That, they say, gives them time to get organized and rally their troops, even if, by outward appearances, time is not on their side.
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, asserts that, in fact, time is not on the side of those seeking to create a right to same-sex marriage.