THE BLOG

Rick Santorum vs Marriage

06/15/2015 12:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 15, 2016
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

With the Supreme Court due to rule on marriage any day now, Presidential "candidate" Rick Santorum says he would fight back against a pro-equality ruling. He says that states allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is a violation of his religious freedom, which is an argument a lot people made about interracial marriage in the 60s. So do couples need to worry about the possibility that Rick Santorum could stop them from marrying? No. For one thing, the president doesn't get to veto Supreme Court rulings. And for another, Rick Santorum will never be president.

But statements like those give cover to organizations that oppose marriage equality. Last week a group of religious leaders took out an ad in some newspapers saying that they would defy any order from the Supreme Court to recognize marriage equality. Can they do that? No, not really. At most, they can use this as an excuse to gather email addresses on a petition, which is exactly what they're doing. This is the work of Rick Scarborough, who has in the past suggested that someone should file a class action lawsuit against homosexuality, so clearly not one of the country's great legal minds.

Meanwhile, back in reality, a judge in Arkansas ruled this week that the state must recognize marriages performed during a brief window last year when clerks were issuing licenses. And Lambda Legal has filed a new lawsuit in Texas to stop the state from denying spousal benefits to LGBT government employees. Texas is shaping up to be a battleground state when we get a marriage ruling, with some officials doing what they can to resist equality, and others, like the clerk in Dallas, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to marry queer couples.

Also last week, the North Carolina legislature passed a law that allows government officials to opt out of issuing licenses on the basis of their religion. If they opt out, they have to do so for everyone -- gay or straight, they'd have to reject all couples. It's worth pointing out that North Carolina has had marriage equality for over half a year at this point, with no problems. And a new survey shows public support for equality reaching a new high in the state.

That goes along with a new survey from Pew this week, showing support for marriage continuing to do what it's done for the last decade and a half. Nationally, support is averaging somewhere around 57%, with opposition well under 40. And that's the big reason why any attempt to disobey the Supreme Court will be unsuccessful. There just aren't enough people left who oppose the freedom to marry.