POLITICS
03/28/2013 06:08 pm ET Updated Mar 29, 2013

Gay-Rights Group To John Roberts: Everyone's Not 'Falling Over Themselves' To Back Gay Marriage

WASHINGTON -- The way Chief Justice John Roberts sees it, gay rights advocates have it pretty easy.

Referring to the "sea change" in public opinion about gay marriage, Roberts said during oral arguments on Wednesday in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case that politicians were "falling over themselves" to endorse gay marriage.

"I suppose the sea change has a lot to do with the political force and effectiveness of people representing, supporting your side of the case?" Roberts asked attorney Roberta Kaplan, who is representing Edith Windsor. "You don't doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you?"

Brian Moulton, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said it's important to take a step back when taking a look at the political power held by gay-rights supporters, calling Roberts' comments "frustrating."

"When you look at the court looking at protections for women in the late 70s, the court still concluded they were not politically powerful despite the fact that they had succeeded in passing laws to prohibit sex discrimination in employment nationwide," Moulton told The Huffington Post. "They really looked at, well, how well-represented are women in Congress and in state legislatures and really looked at it together with this history of discrimination."

"You hear the term political power and you think, OK, that means are people getting their voices heard, are they on the news. Maybe your immediate thought is, oh, well come to think of it, look at all this news around the Supreme Court, all the change on marriage in the last several years, if not the last couple of weeks, that does seem like a lot of political power," Moulton said.

"But then you step back and think, OK, well in 30 states, LGBT people have been unsuccessful in stopping their legislators and their neighbors from voting their families out of those state constitutions and are still a minuscule proportion of any legislature or Congress," Moulton added. "These are the kind of people who are never going to be able to achieve power in the decision-making bodies to be able to vindicate their rights on their own."

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