Conservative US leaders are outraged that the Supreme Court has allowed gay marriage to eventually become legal in more than half of the nation’s states.
On Monday, the court surprised Americans by refusing to hear petitions against lower court rulings legalising same-sex marriage in five states.
Its ground-breaking lack of action has major implications for a number of pending court challenges against marriage equality and is expected to result in the legalisation of gay marriage in up to 11 additional states, making it a reality for around 60 percent of the US population.
The move is being seen as a death blow to opposition to same-sex marriage in the US, but anti-gay groups have refused to back down.
Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), said that the latest development “is wrong on so many levels” and accused the court of illegitimately redefining marriage.
He called on the US Congress to immediately move to “amend the Constitution to reaffirm the meaning of marriage.”
Brown said that his organisation “will continue to devote all our energy and resources to stand for the truth of marriage, and to advocate the importance of preserving it. While we are disappointed in what has happened today, we are not defeated or dispirited.”
US Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas also condemned the court’s inaction, describing it as “tragic and indefensible… judicial activism at its worst.”
“Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures,” he said.
In response to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in its home state of Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church, said that it would have “no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.”
As of today, same-sex couples can legally marry in 24 US states, plus Washington, DC, representing 52 percent of Americans. This could increase to 30 states as a result of the Supreme’s Court’s failure to take on the issue.
This time last year, same-sex couples could only legally marry in 13 states and Washington, DC.