Stephen Presser claims that, if “the Supreme Court rules that the federal Constitution requires gay marriage, the political uproar that will ensue may well make the reaction to the court’s Roe v. Wade decision look tame.” David Fontana disagrees:
We know that a Court decision about an issue intensifies opinions about that issue; there is evidence that state court gay marriage decisions have done exactly this. But there is reason to think that the reaction of an intense minority might not be quite so significant. One reason: Just as there has been a shift in preferences about gay marriage over the past two decades, there has also been the shift in the intensity of these preferences. It used to be the case that opponents felt much more strongly than supporters. It was easy to organize state ballot initiatives banning gay marriage because so many opponents of marriage equality were motivated to go door-to-door, solicit signatures, and organize rallies. These days, supporters of gay marriage care more deeply than foes, with one poll indicating that only about one-third of Americans are strongly opposed to gay marriage. There might not be enough strong opponents enough to create the political or social momentum to do something about an unfavorable Court ruling, even in a small number of states.