Antigay activists have begun responding to this morning’s marriage equality ruling, and their responses are full of comparisons to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which ruled that African-Americans had no citizenship rights, and 1973’s Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. They’re talking a lot about disenfranchisement of citizens who voted for marriage bans.
They are also not conceding defeat. Some are making general statements about not obeying the decision, although it’s unclear what form that will take. But the National Organization for Marriage is again calling for a federal constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, something endorsed by Republican presidential hopefuls including Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. It’s also promoting the First Amendment Defense Act, which has been introduced in Congress and would prohibit federal agencies from denying grants, tax exemptions, certifications or licenses because of a business or individual’s belief that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples, and similar state-level bills. Other efforts to block marriage equality include a bill proposed in the U.S. House by Rep. Steve King of Iowa, which would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over marriage. None of these efforts are likely to succeed, at least at the federal level; in some states, “license to discriminate” legislation may have a chance. The right wing is also calling for marriage to be an issue in the 2016 presidential election.
Herewith, some reactions, with written statements styled as the authors wrote them:
“Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter. The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs. With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision. Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein. We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman.” — Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council
“This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has issued an immoral and unjust ruling. In 1857, the Court ruled in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case that African- Americans could not become citizens of the United States and determined that the government was powerless to reject slavery. In 1927 the Court effectively endorsed eugenics by ruling that people with mental illness and other ‘defectives’ could be sterilized against their will, saying ‘three generations of imbeciles are enough.’ And in Roe v. Wade, the Court invented a constitutional right to abortion by claiming it was an integral element of the right to privacy. Over 55 million unborn babies have died as a result. We urge the American people and future presidents to regard today’s decision just as President Abraham Lincoln regarded the Dred Scott ruling when he said in his first inaugural address that ‘if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made … the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal. Today’s decision is by no means the final word concerning the definition of marriage; indeed it is only the beginning of the next phase in the struggle. NOM is committed to reversing this ruling over the long term and ameliorating it over the short term.” — Brian Brown, president, National Organization for Marriage
“This decision not only denies reality but also robs citizens of their right to self-government. From the gaseous emanations of their own imaginations, five of our supremacist justices have discerned a heretofore nonexistent constitutional requirement that homoerotic unions be recognized as ‘marriages.’ Just as Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade gave birth to relentless cultural turmoil, division, and suffering, so too will the Obergefell decision. By imposing on the country a deceit buttressed by false allegations that opposition to the legal recognition of non-marital unions as marriages is motivated by ‘animus,’ these five judges have watered the seeds of strife planted by sexual anarchists. … This pernicious SCOTUS decision also provides evidence that the moral arc of America—at least with regard to marriage — bends not toward justice, wisdom, or morality but, rather, toward perversity and injustice. Liberals are once again on the shameful side of history and will once again foment cultural conflict and human suffering.” — Laurie Higgins, cultural analyst, Illinois Family Institute
“This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States. In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people. There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling.” — Tim Wildmon, president, American Family Association
“This case is about much more than marriage and will go down in history alongside other appalling Supreme Court rulings, like Dred Scott and Roe. Just as the lives of more than 55 million babies lost through abortion echo through the chambers of the Court every day, so the negative impact of this illegitimate decision will sound before the Court for years to come. The Court solves nothing with this ill-advised ruling, but only intensifies the culture wars, as it did in Roe, by cutting short a healthy debate about the definition of marriage, family, and sexuality that our country is having. All Americans should stand against such overreach, whatever their views on marriage. ... Concerned Women for America will continue to work to support marriage in all areas, including combating the harmful effects of cohabitation, divorce, and the redefinition of marriage.” — Penny Nance, CEO and president, Concerned Women for America
“Although this result was predicted by many observers, the action of the Court is nonetheless startling in its rejection of a societal understanding of marriage that goes back to the dawn of civilization. It tramples on the democratic process by overturning the will of more than 60 percent of American voters and creates a new federal constitutional right in an area where our founding document is silent. We are also concerned that this decision will fan the flames of government hostility against individuals, businesses and religious organizations whose convictions prevent them from officiating at, participating in, or celebrating such unions. We’ve already watched this hostility operate against wedding vendors, military chaplains, and others, and anticipate that today’s decision will open the door to an unwelcome escalation of this problem. Ultimately, however, no court can change the eternal truth that marriage is, and always has been, between a man and a woman. Regardless of today’s decision, Focus on the Family will continue to address the importance of one man, one woman marriage to families, society and especially for children who have a right to both a mother and a father.” — Jim Daly, president, Focus on the Family
“While there are many things we can endure any attempt to redefine marriage is a line we cannot and will not cross. That’s why we cannot obey. We just simply have no choice in this matter. … It matters nothing about how many justices of the Supreme Court think they can change the natural created order. … If they are that removed from reality that they think they can write an opinion and somehow constitutionalize something that is contrary to the natural created order then that’s a decision we can’t respect, and there have been significant decisions by the Supreme Court in its history that fall in that category, like the Dred Scott decision, and that’s a decision that Abraham Lincoln advocated that there should be no respect for.” — Mat Staver, founder and chairman, Liberty Counsel
“We of course are concerned about the freedom of conscience of millions of Americans who continue to believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that both mothers and fathers are important and essential for children. … We hope that millions of Americans who still believe a marriage is between one man and one woman will continue to proclaim that truth today.” — Austin Nimocks, Alliance Defending Freedom
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