NEW YORK -- While much of America rejoiced Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry across all 50 states, the country’s increasingly marginalised religious conservatives offered words of protest, ranging from well-founded concerns of regarding faith and liberty, to more outlandish pronouncements comparing the decision to 9/11.
The case against equal marriage for reasons of religious liberty was spelled out in the dissents of the conservative Supreme Court judges who voted against the decision, which passed 5-4.
People celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr articulated his opposition on the grounds that “many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is -- unlike the right imagined by the majority -- actually spelled out in the Constitution.”
Justice Clarence Thomas dissented on the same theme: “Aside from undermining the political processes that protect our liberty, the majority’s decision threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.”
Unsurprisingly, all the Republican presidential candidates (apart from Donald Trump), each of whom requires the backing of religious conservatives for their respective campaigns, objected to the decision -- some with more conviction than others.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took the most strident tone decrying the Supreme Court for speaking “with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do -- redefine marriage.”
He said: “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity.”
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, one of the most prominent Catholics in American political life, called the decision a “watershed moment in American history.”
“It's the most egregious rejection of traditional values and the Bill of Rights since Roe v. Wade,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court decision to legalise abortion. “We can't let it stand.”
Santorum: 'A watershed moment in American history'
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was so irked he called for the abolition of the Supreme Court, stating it was “completely out of control,” while dismissing it as “a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body.”
“If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court,” he said.
Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker called for an amendment to the US Constitution to “reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” while frontrunner Jeb Bush struck a more conciliatory tone, stating the Supreme Court should have “allowed the states to make this decision.”
Although the Republican candidates came out in lockstep against the decision, some commentators have suggested many will likely be pleased, noting that it will no longer be a prominent wedge issue ahead of the election in 2016.
Huckabee: 'Only the Supreme Being can... redefine marriage'
And then there were the religious conservatives who really didn’t like the court's decision, for whom gay marriage heralds the End of Days and the death of America.
Bryan Fischer, who presents a show on American Family Radio, called June 26, 2015 a date “which will live in infamy,” and the day the United States “became Sodom and Gomorrah."
"From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is the new 9/11 because it was on this day that five justices of the United States Supreme Court became moral jihadists,” he added. “They became rainbow jihadists and they blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. And they did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny."
Fischer concluded: "We are now serfs on a plantation that's being run by cultural elites who wear black robes and use the gavels like the slaveholders of old used to use their whips, to beat us, as social conservatives, into abject submission."
Thomas: 'A threat to the religious liberty our Nation has sought to protect'
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes told Christian to brace themselves for accusations of “hate crimes.”
"If you think the cultural purging of the southern states has been breathtaking, wait until you see what the activists are about to unleash on the American Christians,” he said in reference to the recent controversy surrounding the Confederate flag.
“Churches and faith-based organisations should prepare to be hit with lawsuits and government investigations. Pastors who refuse to perform gay marriage and preach from the Bible should prepare for hate crime charges. All dissent will be silenced."
Graham: 'God's judgment will come on this nation'
Franklin Graham, a religious businessman and son of preacher Bill Graham, gave an even more theatrical reaction, noting the decision will bring “God's judgment will come on this nation.”
And then there was Louie Gohmert, a Republican Representative from Texas, who warned: “If Moses, Jesus, and contributors to the Bible were correct, God’s hand of protection will be withdrawn as future actions from external and internal forces will soon make clear.”
Fortunately, the 61-year-old seems to be pally with God, so said he would do "all I can to prevent such harm."