How Conservatives Might React To The Supreme Court Marriage Decisions (In One’s Own Words)

With the impending decisions on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act due from the Supreme Court, both sides of the LGBT equality fight are preparing their responses. One conservative group overprepared, and accidentally posted all of its reactions to the different possible outcomes. Here’s a preview of what to expect from conservatives this week, courtesy of the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), as captured by Laurel Ramseyer at Pam’s House Blend.

If the Supreme Court upholds DOMA and Prop 8, FPIW’s Joseph Backholm is ready to gloat that same-sex couples don’t deserve recognition under law because “the U.S. Constitution does not include a ‘right’… to have their relationships officially affirmed as ‘marriages.’” Likewise, he anticipates a narrow ruling on Prop 8 even with a loss on DOMA, hoping that “this important debate will continue state by state across the country.”

Should the Court rule against both Prop 8 and DOMA, Backholm offers a longer statement to address the “lose-lose” situation. Quick to accuse the Supreme Court of “judicial activism” only in the face of a loss, he believes such a decision would throw into question the Court’s entire legitimacy:

“It is absurd for the Court to argue that any of the Constitution’s authors either granted, through its text, or intended to grant, through its spirit, a “right” for two men or two women to “marry.” In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, or in the history or traditions of our country, the Court raises serious questions about its legitimacy.”

In overturning the laws of 38 states, and the constitutions of 30, the Supreme Court has launched a shocking assault on our system of federalism, as well as upon the right of the people to govern themselves.

However, supporters of natural marriage are committed to continuing the fight for marriage. Just as the country has never accepted the Supreme Court’s declaration of a “right” to destroy unborn human life in Roe v. Wade, we will never accept the Court’s assertion of a “right” to change the def inition of our most fundamental social institution.

Any comparison with Roe v. Wade has already been debunked, if only because polling on marriage equality has always trended upward, while polling on abortion — a substantively different issue — has generally remained steady. More importantly, the differences between these different reactions reminds that “judicial activism” is simply filler language for when the Court makes a decision people do not like.


Regardless of the outcome, same-sex couples in Backholm’s home state of Washington will still have the legal right to marry and to raise children. He, like other conservatives, offers no concern for how those children would benefit from the many protections offered by federal recognition of marriage.