June 28, 2013 (FRC) - Twenty-four hours after erupting in celebration, the Left still woke up this morning to 50 states whose marriage laws are completely unchanged. To the casual observer, it must have seemed from all the media coverage of the Supreme Court's decisions that natural marriage had gasped its last breath. But for all the arms raised in victory, the reality is that Ted Olson and David Boies didn't get from the Supreme Court what they so desperately wanted: a sweeping declaration that same-sex "marriage" is legal across America. The iconic photos of rainbow banners and kissing couples, splashed across the front pages of major newspapers, only tell part of the story.
Despite two very disappointing rulings, 38 states still define marriage as the union of a man and woman -- including California, where Proposition 8 is still the law of the land. Until an appeals court says otherwise, the reports that the amendment has been struck down are untrue. Thanks to three small paragraphs of the California Constitution, it takes more than a district court level judge to overturn a proposition adopted by the voters.
True, the state's lawless chief executive, Gov. Jerry Brown, refuses to uphold or defend laws he does not like. But "as of today," FRC's Ken Klukowski writes, "there is no appellate opinion against Prop 8. The Supreme Court refused to issue one, and threw out the only other one (the Ninth Circuit's). There is only a trial court opinion. So every agency in California is legally bound to regard Prop 8 as binding law... Only when one of those courts hold Prop 8 unconstitutional can the public officials in that state regard it as stricken from the books. That litigation could take years. And in the meantime, supporters of traditional marriage can continue making the case for marriage."
That said, the landscape has been fundamentally altered in a society where the rule of law is slowly unraveling. Twelve states can now force taxpayers to supply more than 1,100 benefits which, until Wednesday, were reserved for real spouses. And both the court and rogue leaders like Jerry Brown have, in the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, "declared open season on any law that... can be characterized as mean-spirited." In a nation where our own President feels no obligation to defend the law, it's no wonder the Human Rights Campaign thinks it can impose same-sex "marriage" on every state in five years.
When the Left fell short of their goals yesterday, it gave our movement the most valuable commodity of all: time to persuade the country of the consequences. But it also meant that the waves of attack will keep coming -- stronger and more vicious than ever before. Emboldened by Justice Anthony Kennedy's sharp rebuke of our side, liberals aren't even bothering to hide the rest of their agenda. Polygamists popped the corked on a little champagne of their own after Wednesday's rulings, as they wait their turn for nationwide acceptance.
"We're very happy with it," said Joe Darger, a Utah polygamist, "I think [the court] has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that's certainly something that's going to trickle down and impact us... I think the government needs to now recognize that we have a right to live free as much as anyone else." Proponents of "plural marriages" are riding the homosexual movement's wave of success all the way to legitimacy. They're using the same playbook, the same sound bites - and so far, the Democratic Party seems surprisingly open to the idea. After all, who are we to say that two or three or nine consenting adults shouldn't be able to make the same commitment? Love is love, right?
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Not as far as FRC and some conservative leaders are concerned. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who never backs away from a fight, made it clear where he stands on the issue. "[The] Supreme Court decisions on marriage are a regrettable overreach against the will of the people as expressed through large, bipartisan majority in Congress and directly through referendum in California -- a markedly blue state." For now, our job is to stand for truth and work to win back the ground the Court took. That starts by reminding society why the marriage of a man and woman is uniquely important -- not just to society, but to the future of America.
In the meantime, we need to pursue every policy option at the federal and state level to protect marriage. With same-sex "marriage" on a collision course with religious liberty, we must enact protections for those who stand for natural marriage.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Reserach Council, where this article first appeared.