The surprise today is not that conservative religious activists are upset about yesterday's Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling "that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

The surprise is the degree to which they're condemning it. The Washington Times underplays the reaction: "Traditional-values groups expressed relief that the high court didn't order state officials to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but decried the decision as a national travesty."

Apart from a statement from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, Weblog hasn't actually seen many "relieved" comments from profamily organizations. Instead, they're more like the statement from pundit Gary Bauer quoted later in the Times article. Calling the decision "the most intolerant act of judicial tyranny in recent memory," Bauer called for open revolt. "Perhaps it is time for another Boston Tea Party. The heirs of Bunker Hill and Concord Bridge should not passively accept this decision by four robed individuals."

It's worse than tyranny, said Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. "This is a very sad day in the life of this country, and one that I believe invites the very judgment of God as we move arrogantly away from our moral underpinnings," he said on today's radio broadcast. "He will not be mocked, and we warned us through the prophet Isaiah, 'Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.' … That's what happened yesterday in the state of Massachusetts.'"

Dobson, who said the decision "should not be all that surprising even though it is a profoundly disturbing development," urged his listeners to push for amendments to both the state and national constitutions outlawing same-sex marriage. But more important, he said, Focus listeners should pray. "Nothing else will save us now," he warned. Focus has also released a written statement from Dobson that says the "dire ramifications" of the Massachusetts decision and similar moves toward gay marriage "cannot be overstated."

The reason that the courts are risking divine judgment goes beyond simple sexual ethics, says syndicated columnist Cal Thomas—the judges are playing God. "Marriage was not invented by the postal service as a convenient way to deliver the mail," he wrote. "It was established by God as the best arrangement for fallen humanity to organize and protect itself and create and rear children … . What is most disturbing about this latest affront to tradition and biblical wisdom is that those who would undermine the old have nothing new to offer in its place. It is like morally corrupt ancient Israel when there was no king 'and everyone did what was right in his own eyes' (Judges 21:25)."

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It's sure to get more disturbing, predicts Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute. "To mandate marital recognition for non-marital relationships is to create a lie that will ensure coercion against people who stand for the truth," he said in a press release. "Christians are sure to be targets of persecution for their beliefs if 'gay' marriage is given legal backing."

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins sees other implications. "Research has shown that same-sex relationships lack permanence and fidelity. Therefore, if such unions are recognized as 'marriage,' those values will be further stripped from the ideal of marriage that is held up to our children," he writes in USA Today's "opposing viewpoint" editorial. The deliberate creation of motherless and fatherless families will have the government's highest stamp of approval."

This roundup of comments is not to say that religious conservatives—or even that these religious conservatives—aren't talking about the specifics of yesterday's decision, and what it means specifically for Massachusetts civic and family life. But it certainly is interesting to see how pundits (from all sides, actually) almost universally suggest that the decision isn't really monumental in itself, but in what it portends for the future on a national scale. For example, some are debating whether the decision will lead to the legalization of adult incestuous marriages and polygamous marriages.

In any case, this decision is huge news, both in itself and in its implications. There are therefore far too many articles and comments for Weblog to round up. If you're really interested in the subject, check out two other blogs: and

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