Right Sees New Jersey Marriage Ruling as Opportunity for Election-Day Push

Going into the final two weeks before the election with their party facing daunting losses, their appeal to Christian conservatives dimmed, and their anti-gay mobilization tactics falling flat, the Religious Right is looking at the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex unions as a glimmer of hope that they might maintain their influence in Congress.

“Pro-traditional-marriage organizations ought to give a distinguished service award to the New Jersey Supreme Court,” said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Some activists connected the New Jersey ruling to constitutional amendments up for vote in eight other states, hoping the ruling would provide a “wake-up call” and “give momentum” to the anti-gay marriage movement.. “New Jersey has now given citizens greater reason to vote on November 7 to protect marriage in the 8 states with referendums on the ballot,” said Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said “We only hope that the residents of” those states “recognize that their state may be only one court ruling away from being forced to accept gay marriage,” adding that “the future of the American family hangs in the balance.” Victoria Cobb of Virginia’s Family Foundation says it “proves the point” that “such a radical decision can happen at any time, on any judicial whim, in any state, including Virginia.”

Others simply cited the court ruling as a reason to vote against liberals. “It’s an important wedge issue to talk about between candidates where there are two distinct viewpoints on the issue,” said Joseph Cella, president of Fidelis. Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, called on disillusioned voters to turnout, saying that “the worst gamble is being made by those who plan to stay home this November and leave the fate of this and other important issues to others who cast their votes. Republicans, Democrats or Vegetarians, it doesn’t matter — religious conservatives should vote for people who support traditional marriage and vote against anybody who doesn’t.” She added, “If pro-marriage people stay home, the liberals win.”