Most famously, Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed that state's Senate Bill 1062 late last month, saying it had the potential to "divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine" and that while "religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination."
This is not the way social conservatives expected this debate to play out. Bills like SB 1062 cropped up in 12 different legislatures this year, most of them solidly conservative states where proponents didn't foresee any political obstacles to their new, proactive front in the war for "traditional marriage."
After all, as American public opinion has rapidly turned to favor gay marriage in recent years, a key to the issue’s political success has been convincing people it will not affect them—that there is no "homosexual agenda” to conscript their children, and that their lives, their marriages, and their churches will stay the same if the state begins to recognize the relationships of gays and lesbians.
Schubert knows how powerful an argument this is, which is why his campaigns have worked so hard to knock it down. In 2008, working for Proposition 8 in California, he made ads that claimed children would be taught about gay marriage in school. In 2012, running the anti-gay-marriage campaigns in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, his ads featured an innkeeping couple in Vermont complaining they were sued by a pair of lesbians for "not supporting their gay wedding because of our Christian beliefs.” The message: If you voted to legalize same-sex marriage, the gays weren’t going to line up peacefully at the courthouse. They were going to barge into your home and make you go along.
Gay-marriage proponents also understood how damaging this notion could be to their cause. To combat it, they crafted same-sex-marriage laws with explicit carve-outs for churches and clergy, so that no priest, minister, or rabbi could be forced to officiate a gay wedding and no house of worship would be forced to host one. Ads in favor of gay marriage stressed the notion that parents would be free to shape their kids’ values and no one would take that away from them. Assurances like these made it harder and harder for people to believe the religious right's insistence that allowing gays to marry would somehow harm everyone else.
A few months after those four gay-marriage ballot initiatives triumphed, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, claimed the decisions were not an attempt to impose same-sex marriage nationwide. But dissenting Justice Antonin Scalia warned that that would inevitably follow from the majority’s reasoning. "It takes real cheek for today's majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority's moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress's hateful moral judgment against it,” Scalia wrote.