Gay marriage ruling may rival Roe v. Wade in turmoil

The issue of gay marriage is hurtling toward a Supreme Court date this month, and activists on both sides are fearing — or hoping for — another Roe v. Wade-type decision.

The 1973 Roe decision — which the justices hoped would settle the legal question on abortion once and for all — instead spawned a political and cultural clash that is still raging. Many traditional-values advocates are predicting a similar divisive scenario if the high court overrides laws approved by legislatures and voters in dozens of states defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

If the Supreme Court “mandates genderless marriage, the resulting social divisions and political contentions will probably equal — and may surpass — those resulting from Roe v. Wade,” Nevada lawyer Monte Stewart and the Coalition for Marriage said in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of California’s voter-approved Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), both of which take a stand against same-sex marriage.

“It is not an exaggeration to call the [Proposition 8 case] Hollingsworth v. Perry the ‘Roe v. Wade for marriage,’” said Ron Prentice, chief executive of the California Family Council.

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