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For marriage equality opponents, the losing streak continues to grow

Sunday, June 15, 2014
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Christine Weick protests outside a federal courthouse on March 3, 2014, before a trial that could overturn Michigan's ban on gay marriage in Detroit. Faced with a losing streak, 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 on Thursday, June 19, at a March for Marriage in Washington. David Coates, Detroit News (AP)

Christine Weick protests outside a federal courthouse on March 3, 2014, before a trial that could overturn Michigan’s ban on gay marriage in Detroit. Faced with a losing streak, 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 on Thursday, June 19, at a March for Marriage in Washington.

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.”

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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 same-sex marriage nationwide, “We won’t go away,” Brown said.

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