WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – Supporters of same-sex marriage are warning about a backlash against this summer's landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, and a prominent Christian sociologist says they have reason to be concerned.
The anxiousness on the part of LGBT leaders follows the defeat of a transgender equal rights ordinance in Houston as well as the widespread support among Christian conservatives for Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples if her name was on them.
Additionally, the Alabama Supreme Court in September ruled that the state doesn't have to recognize the adoption of children by a lesbian woman in a custody dispute across state lines. She lives in Georgia, while the biological mom and the children live in Alabama. The controversy began when the two women ended their relationship.
"We are in the middle of a full-throated backlash. ... We are just seeing the beginning on the backlash. It will get worse before it gets better," Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, was quoted as saying in Time magazine.
The 5-4 ruling was handed down five months ago, sparking a push by conservative politicians and Christian leaders for laws protecting business owners and government employees who have deeply held religious objections to same-sex marriage.
When Davis chose to go to jail instead of allowing licenses with her name on them to be given to same-sex couples, she was cheered by many as a hero. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee even appeared at a rally supporting her when she was released. Additionally, Kentucky voters elected a Republican gubernatorial candidate, Matt Bevin, who backed her.
"Before the balloons even deflated, our opponents started rolling out really aggressive anti-LGBT policies," Danielle Moodie-Mills, the CEO of Politini Media and a national LGBT leader, told Time.
Moodie-Mills was referencing the sound rejection by Houston voters of an ordinance that would have granted transgender people certain controversial rights, such as the right to use whichever restroom the person wishes. Opponents of the ordinance warned it would have allowed male predators to use female restrooms, endangering not only women but also young girls. The ordinance was defeated, 62-38 percent.
"You just can't quit once you get a big victory," said Gautam Raghavan, vice president at the Gill Foundation, which funds LGBT candidates and initiatives. "I worry that our straight allies are thinking our work is over. ... I worry about funding. I worry that a lot of folks will start writing checks to something else. We can't do that."
Glenn T. Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, told the Christian Examiner he isn't surprised there is a backlash. He has authored several books on the issues of homosexuality and gender roles and says traditional couples bring "inherent qualities" to the "family and society."
"Like Roe v Wade, this decision was forced on the American people by a razor-thin margin with one judge providing the tipping point," said Stanton, who also serves as a research fellow at the Institute of Marriage and Family in Ottawa. "If these activists assume [the Supreme Court] decision is simply going to make those of us who care about the natural family ... simply go away, they are quite naïve and lack a basic understanding of how cultural struggles over contentious issues actually work in a democratic society."