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Marriage Equality

Even Former NOM Executives Believe Marriage Equality Is Imminent

Even Former NOM Executives Believe Marriage Equality Is Imminent


Jennifer Roback-Morse, who has a long history working with the antigay National Organization for Marriage, expects marriage equality to be legal nationwide by next fall.

Amid growing evidence that the antigay right wing has lost its battle opposing same-sex marriage, yet another prominent anti-equality voice has conceded that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land -- by next year, according to her estimation.

Jennifer Roback-Morse spent more than a decade affiliated with the antigay National Organization, first as a spokesperson for California's now-defunct Proposition 8, then as a senior official of NOM's "Marriage Education Fund." She still serves as the president of the NOM-backed antigay think tank she founded, known as the Ruth Institute. For the past 20 years, Morse has literally made her living by stoking fears about the cultural and economic doom that marriage equality would bring upon the nation, focusing especially on the scientifically disproven claim that children suffer when they are raised by same-sex parents.

Now, however, Morse is singing a different tune, telling the National Catholic Singles' Conference in San Diego this month that she wanted to "go on the record" about "what is going to happen as we move along the path of redefining marriage."

"We're here, in 2014, talking about the redefinition of marriage. I'm going to go on the record here, and forecast, that by this time next year, it'll be over, as a legal matter," Morse continues. "There will be same-sex, genderless marriage in every state in the union."

Morse went on to apologize to any Texans in the room, telling them that they "are not going to be able to hold out" on maintaining discriminatory marriage laws. (Indeed, a federal judge in February ruled that Texas' constitutional ban on same-sex marriage violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The state's attorney general has appealed that ruling.)

Good As You founder, GLAAD correspondent, and an honoree in this year's Advocate's 40 Under 40, Jeremy Hooper tracked down this latest piece of audio, noting that the timeline Morse estimates for legal marriage equality nationwide is shorter than even the most ardent pro-equality advocates foresee.

"Even I would allow for a two-year timeline," writes Hooper. "But if Ms. Roback-Morse wants to help speed up the inevitable, who am I to stop her?"

Morse isn't the only former antigay talking head to wave the white flag in the fight for equal marriage rights. Last year, former NOM president Maggie Gallagher began echoing a similar refrain, encouraging antigay activists to focus on finding ways to survive in the amoral landscape that she believes will come about if LGBT couples are allowed to marry the person of their choice.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, an outspoken opponent to marriage equality, the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell,' and supporter of the now-overturned federal Defense of Marriage Act, told a local radio station in May that "anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land hasn't been observing what's been going on." He anticipated that the U.S. Supreme Court, when it takes up at least one of the several cases seeking marriage equality before it, will rule in favor of same-sex couples' right to marry.

Currently, same-sex couples can legally marry in 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, there are 79 lawsuits aiming to strike down individual state laws banning same-sex marriage, being advanced in 32 states and territories, according to advocacy group Freedom to Marry. Since last summer's landmark Supreme Court rulings, which struck down DOMA and California's Prop. 8, 37 state and federal judges have ruled in favor of equality. Just one -- a state judge in Tennessee -- determined that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional.

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