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Religious Tolerance logo

The Obergefell v. Hodges case before the U.S. Supreme Court
involving appeals of 4 same-sex marriage cases, from Kentucky,
Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee.

Part 26: 2013 to 2015:
More positive and negative predictions of the
impacts on the nation if & when the U.S.
Supreme Court legalizes SSM.
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We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay which describes how religious
& social conservatives might handle a ruling legalizing SSM across the country.

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same-sex marriage symbol More predictions of the future if the Supreme Court makes same-sex marriage available across the U.S. (Cont'd)

thumb downDr. James Dobson, founded Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. These are fundamentalist Christian ministries to families led by opposite-sex spouses and single parents. He predicts the "fall of Western civilization" if the high court legalizes same-sex marriage in the remaining 13 states and 5 territories that banned it at the time. He issued a statement saying:

"I do not recall a time when the institutions of marriage and the family have faced such peril, or when the forces arrayed against them were more formidable or determined. Barring a miracle, the family that has existed since antiquity will likely crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself. This is a time for concerted prayer, divine wisdom and greater courage than we have ever been called upon to exercise. ..."

"God help us if we throw the divine plan for humankind on the ash heap of history. Down one path are millions of strong and vibrant families with their children growing up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Down the other path is a nation drifting away from its spiritual roots in a culture that will teach a dangerous ideology to today’s younger generation and those yet to come. Prayer is our only hope, but it is a powerful one. Even at this late hour, the Lord could still respond to the petitions of millions of godly people. [My wife] Shirley and I are among those who are praying for a miracle. Will you join us?" 1

By a coincidence, this web site conducted a pilot study to determine the will of God towards same-sex marriage. The tentative conclusion that we reached is that -- at least for this one topic -- one cannot rely on prayer to assess God's will.

Dr. Dobson also took part in a conference call to discuss the impact of marriage equality with group of anti-LGBT leaders.

  • Janet Porter, who has created a documentary film about how the drive for equal rights in marriage will cause Christianity to be outlawed in the U.S., talked about her campaign for Congress to pass a restraining order that would prevent the High Court from legalizing same-sex marriage.

  • Other participants in the conference call were Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Rick Scarborough of Vision America, and Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality,"

  • Rev. Dobson discussed the unprecedented "level of intensity" over marriage equality which has brought the country to the brink of conflict. He said:

    "Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this. ... The country can be no stronger than its families. I really believe if what the Supreme Court is about to do is carried through with, and it looks like it will be, then we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two. I just am convinced of that. So we need to do everything we can to try to hold ... [marriage equality] back and to preserve the institution of marriage. ... [Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R) said that Congress is] scared to death. ... We don't have support really anywhere in Government. ... I agree with [Home School Legal Defense Association founder] Michael Farris that the only thing we can do is to have a state constitutional convention to re-examine the Constitution. I wish I could say I believe pouring a lot of opposition, which may not even be there now, onto the Supreme Court is going to make a big difference." 2

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thumbs up imageProfessor Nicole Hemmer "... teaches 20th century U.S. history at the University of Miami, and is a visiting scholar at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney." She wrote an article on 2015-APR-21 for U.S. News & World Report, titled:

"Marriage Equality Is (Nearly) Here to Stay."

It was subtitled:

"The much-feared backlash to same-sex marriage has already come and gone." 3

She notes that the backlash that followed the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Brown v. Board of Education concerning school racial desegregation and in Roe v. Wade concerning women's access to abortion did create major backlashes. This motivated the LGBT community to proceed slowly and incrementally during the past decade in its goal to eventually attain marriage equality across the country.

She asserts that:

"... it is now clear that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land. It is also clear that when the court does finally strike down bans on same-sex marriage, there will be no real backlash." 3

She concluded:

"By the time the Supreme Court struck down [the main section of] the [federal] Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, it was clear opponents of marriage equality were fighting a losing battle. When the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court ordered probate judges to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier this year, it felt like the last gasp of a dying movement, not the call-to-arms of a growing resistance. ..."

"Prior to the 2013 rulings, a number of gay-rights activists worried that the court would legalize marriage equality across the country, triggering a backlash. Mary Bonauto, director of the Civil Rights Project at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders [GLAAD], told The Associated Press in late 2012:

    'Mindful of history, I can’t help but be concerned.'

Activists awaiting this year’s rulings can set their minds at ease. The backlash has come and gone, and marriage equality, when it arrives, will be here to stay." 3

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thumbs up image2014: Harvard Law Professor Michael Klarman is the author of a book on same-sex marriage. 4 Writing for the Los Angeles Times, he noted that a few previous court decisions triggered major backlashes:

  • 1954: Brown v. Board of Education, which ended school racial segregation, set back the cause of racial reform in the South.

  • 1972: Furman v. Georgia, which limited the use of capital punishment, resulted in more support for the death penalty.

  • 1973: Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortions early in pregnancy, greatly advanced the pro-life movement which continues as a major force today.

  • 2003: Goodridge v. Dep't of Public Health, the ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that ordered the state to be the first in the U.S. to attain marriage equality, triggered action in over 30 states to pass constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage. 5

A year earlier, just before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Hollingsworth vs. Perry -- the case that overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in California -- he speculated that the high court might possibly issue a very broad ruling and legalize SSM across the entire U.S. at that time. He considered whether such a decision might trigger a public reaction against marriage equality similar to Brown, Furman, etc. He decided that a major backlash would have been improbable. He considered four factors:

  • Public opinion: He wrote: "Unsurprisingly, only rulings that contravene public opinion tend to generate backlash."

    Back in 2013, support for SSM was in the low 50% range. Today it is about 60% and the ratio of support to opposition is approaching 2 to 1.

  • Relative intensity of preference: He notes that the strength of feeling among supporters and opposers is relatively equal. Also, those opposed to marriage equality would not be directly and personally affected by legalization of same-sex marriage as they had been over previous court decisions that generated a backlash. 5

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Professor Klarman's prediction is completed and other
forecasts of harmony or disaster are discussed in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Bob Unruh, "Dobson: 'Fall of western civilization' at hand," WND Faith, 2015-MAY-03, at: http://www.wnd.com/
  2. Brian Tashman, "James Dobson: Gay Marriage Will Lead To Civil War," Right Wing Watch, 2015-APR-08, at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/
  3. Nichole Hemmer, "Marriage Equality Is (Nearly) Here to Stay," U.S. News, 2015-APR-21, at: http://www.usnews.com/

  4. book cover Michael Klarman, "From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage," Oxford University Press, (2014). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  5. Michael Klarman, "A gay marriage backlash? Not likely," Los Angeles Times, 2013-MAR-24, at: http://articles.latimes.com/

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How you may have arrived here:

Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2015-MAY-06
Latest update: 2015-MAY-07
Author: B.A. Robinson
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