Robert George, chairman of the anti-gay marriage group National Organization for Marriage (NOM), argues that marriage bans are not rooted in anti-gay animus.

George, who co-authored the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) in 2001, makes his claims in the latest episode of PBS's Constitution USA.

Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, one of the two couples behind the case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's gay marriage, tell host Peter Sagal that the Constitutional's 14th Amendment should allow them to marry.

“It's about equal protection,” Stier says. “Because whether it's marriage or something else, we should have the same right to drink out of a water fountain, to drive a car, and to marry each other that anybody else does. So that's what we're really, really fighting for. That's what our case is based on.”

Separately, George disagrees, saying that unlike anti-miscegenation laws, marriage bans are not rooted in discrimination.

“You had a fundamental problem with anti-miscegenation laws and that's they were just rooted in a system of racial subordination and oppression,” George says. “The whole purpose of 14th Amendment was to undo that kind of racial discrimination, and that's why the Court was entirely right in my view in using its 14th Amendment powers to overturn state anti-miscegenation laws.”

“The reason that doesn't work [extending the analogy to marriage equality] is that they're helping themselves to the very conclusion that they need to prove. It's true that sometimes you have laws that are clearly rooted in bigotry, and we should be able to say that that's true when that's true. But people who have conservative ideas about sex and marriage are not bigots. No one cooked up the conjugal conception of marriage, which emerges from a deep history, and in many traditions, on the basis of bigotry. That's just false to the historical facts. And now, they can have a view, that's fine. They can compete for their view, and if they can win a majority of their fellow citizens in a fair debate, then their views should prevail. But people on the other side have exactly the same right. And if they can persuade a majority of their fellow citizens, then they should prevail. What we shouldn't be able to do, Peter, either side, is to go into court to short-circuit the democratic process.”

It should be noted that the case against Proposition 8 does not claim that the institution of marriage is discriminatory but that the amendment banning gay couples from entering such unions is. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case sometime this month.

(Watch the entire episode at PBS.)