John Eastman, chairman of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), has predicted an “eruption” if
the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide.
“If they don't let it be fought out
in the states, there is going to be an eruption,” Eastman
is quoted as saying by the AP in a story considering the
possibility of a backlash to recent marriage rulings in two red
Last month, a federal judge knocked
down Amendment 3, Utah's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment
prohibiting the state from recognizing any union other than a
heterosexual marriage. More than 1,300 gay couples rushed to marry
during the 17 days before the Supreme Court put the ruling on hold.
A second ban fell Tuesday in Oklahoma. Both cases are being appealed
to the 10th Circuit Court in Denver.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of
Freedom to Marry, warned against relying too heavily on the courts to
expand gay rights.
June's Supreme Court ruling knocking
down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which led
to the federal government's recognition of same-sex marriage, ignited
new calls for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a
heterosexual union. GOP lawmakers have also introduced bills which
seek a religious exemption for opponents of marriage equality (The
Marriage and Religious Freedom Act) and prohibit the
government from recognizing the marriages of gay couples who live in
states where such unions are not allowed (The
State Marriage Defense Act).
“We have learned the lesson that
political organizing and public education must accompany” court
wins, Wolfson said.
Wolfson said that his group was working
on campaigns in Utah and Oklahoma to put a human face on the issue.
But Scott J. Hamilton, executive
director of Oklahoma's the Cimarron Alliance Equality Center, brushed
off the possibility of a backlash.
“It will go away eventually,”
Hamilton said. “I'm frankly not worried about equality coming
through the courts. … If we relied on popular opinion in Oklahoma
to grant marriage equality it probably wouldn't happen for