2013 represented a significant turning point in the marriage equality fight with the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but the next — and possibly last — phase of that effort is already taking form. What’s left is for the Supreme Court to address whether state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage violate the rights of gay and lesbian couples, and with cases in Nevada, Utah, Ohio, and Oklahoma already headed to the appellate level, that could happen within the next few years. In the meantime, opponents of marriage equality are doing their best to slow the momentum and limit the recognition of same-sex marriages as much as possible.
At the federal level, opponents currently have three proposed strategies for rolling back some of the recognition that same-sex couples now have. Particularly in the wake of the Utah and Oklahoma decisions, groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council (FRC) have been emphasizing two talking points: that states should have the right to establish their own definition of marriage and that the religious views of people who oppose marriage equality should be protected. Each of the three proposed strategies would limit same-sex marriage to a certain extent according to these talking points, but the principles that inform each strategy are in conflict with each other.
While none of the three plans seems to be politically viable, here’s a look at how conservatives are tripping over themselves to stem the tide of marriage equality.