Hillary Clinton, at the end of what she described as “an emotional roller-coaster of a day,” called on Republicans running for president to stop opposing the expansion of gay rights and move on to other issues.

“Instead of trying to turn back the clock, they should be joining us in saying, ‘No, no to discrimination once and for all,’” the Democratic presidential frontrunner said at an evening gathering of the Democratic Party of Virginia held in the Washington suburb of Fairfax. “I’m asking them, ‘Please don’t make the rights, the hopes of any American into a political football for this 2016 campaign.’”…

“We can sum up the message from the court and the American people in just two words: Move on,” she said.

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Many Republican strategists privately say they believe 2016 will be the last year their nominee can get away with not supporting gay marriage rights. The key question, they say, is whether by 2020 the damage to the party will already be done.

“It may be a fatal problem for them as the generation turns,” said Charles Francis, who served as chairman of the Republican Unity Coalition, an alliance of gay and straight Republicans that worked with the administration of President George W. Bush. But after Mr. Bush decided in 2004 to support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Mr. Francis resigned.

“Republicans have had a few opportunities, a few exit ramps,” Mr. Francis said, “and they’ve steadfastly failed.”

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In Alabama, two officials announced another method of resistance: If they couldn’t stop same-sex marriage, they would stop marriage itself. They said they would no longer issue marriage licenses to anyone, gay or straight, ever again.

“I will not be doing any more ceremonies,” said Fred Hamic (R), the elected probate judge in rural Geneva County. The other was Wes Allen (R), the probate judge in Pike County. Both said that state law doesn’t require their counties to issue marriage licenses at all. If people want to wed, they can go to another county.

“If you read your Bible, sir, then you know the logic. The Bible says a man laying with a man or a woman laying with a woman is an abomination to God,” Hamic said. “I am not mixing religion with government, but that’s my feelings on it.”

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[E]ven many [gays] who raced to the altar say they feel loss amid the celebrations, a bittersweet sense that there was something valuable about the creativity and grit with which gay people responded to stigma and persecution.

For decades, they built sanctuaries of their own: neighborhoods and vacation retreats where they could escape after workdays in the closet; bookstores where young people could find their true selves and one another. Symbols like the rainbow flag expressed joy and collective defiance, a response to disapproving families, laws that could lead to arrests for having sex and the presumption that to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender was shameful.

“The thing I miss is the specialness of being gay,” said Lisa Kron, who wrote the book and lyrics for “Fun Home,” a Broadway musical with a showstopping number sung by a young girl captivated by her first glimpse of a butch woman. “Because the traditional paths were closed, there was a consciousness to our lives, a necessary invention to the way we were going to celebrate and mark family and mark connection. That felt magical and beautiful.”…

“There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community,” Mr. Marcus said.

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The majority offers little more than hand-waving about the slippery slope where all this points. Religious institutions will still have protection under the First Amendment, they say, to “teach” their opposition to same-sex marriage, but the extent of that liberty is not defined. History suggests it could be rapidly curtailed — to prevent religious institutions from having codes prohibiting employees from engaging in homosexual relationships, for instance, or even, someday, forcing the institutions themselves to perform same-sex ceremonies. The majority opinion offers no standard for where freedom of conscience may protect individuals. And if marriage is a fundamental right and the court must update its meaning with the times, what stands between this opinion and legalized polygamy? (A decade or two?)

Those battles will now have to be fought on a legal landscape where invented constitutional imperatives regularly sweep aside democratically written law. The decision is a breathtaking arrogation of political power by the judiciary, a serious loss for the autonomy of the states and the people. Its damage will not be easily or soon undone.

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The problem with gay marriage is not gay marriage. People of the same sex getting married will not destroy America. But it will impact America in serious ways that have ramifications for people well outside the scope of these unions – and not just the baker, photographer, florist or gazebo owner who have been highlighted to this point as the victims of overly litigious bureaucrats seeking bigots to destroy. The consequences of this decision will most rapidly be felt by religious schools and non-profits, as those who once fought for civil liberties for all will turn on those whose liberties they find to be inconvenient. Already the ACLU has announced they will no longer defend federal religious freedom laws they once fought for vociferously, because they now believe the freedom to practice one’s religion amounts to nothing more than a freedom to discriminate.

In such context, there is a very pressing need for all who believe in civil and religious liberty, despite their disagreements about marriage, to unite against the civil liberty hypocrites and the cultural and corporate elite in defense of our First Amendment freedoms. Gay marriage does not require the use and abuse of government power to trample our right to speak, associate, and practice our religion, but the aims of the secular left and the victim-hunting social justice warriors do require such overreach. These rights are essential. They are what makes us America. And they deserve defending by all who believe in the freedom to think, associate, speak, and believe.

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LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. After today, all religious conservatives are Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was chased out of that company for supporting California’s Proposition 8.

Third, the Court majority wrote that gays and lesbians do not want to change the institution of marriage, but rather want to benefit from it. This is hard to believe, given more recent writing from gay activists like Dan Savage expressing a desire to loosen the strictures of monogamy in all marriages. Besides, if marriage can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage. Marriage inevitably loses its power.

In that sense, social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life.

This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.

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Since the ’90s, approval of divorce, premarital sex, and out-of-wedlock childbearing have climbed steadily, and the belief that children are “very important” to marriage has collapsed. Kennedy’s ruling argues that the right to marry is essential, in part, because the institution “safeguards children and families.” But the changing cultural attitudes that justify his jurisprudence increasingly treat this safeguard as inessential, a potentially nice but hardly necessary thing.

And the same is true of marriage itself. America is not quite so “advanced” as certain European societies, but our marriage rate is at historic lows, with the millennial generation, the vanguard of support for same-sex marriage, leading the retreat. Millennials may agree with Kennedy’s ruling, but they’re making his view of marriage as “a keystone of the nation’s social order” look antique. In their views and (lack of) vows, they’re taking a more relaxed perspective, in which wedlock is malleable and optional, one way among many to love, live, rear kids — or not…

Too many Americans clearly just like the more relaxed view of marriage’s importance, and the fact that this relaxation makes room for our gay friends and neighbors is only part of its appeal. Straight America has its own reasons for seeking liberation from the old rules, its own hopes of joy and happiness to chase…

The case for same-sex marriage has been pressed in the name of the Future. But the vision of marriage and family that made its victory possible is deeply present-oriented, rejecting not only lessons of a long human past but also many of the moral claims that inspire adults to privilege the interests of their children, or indeed to bring children into existence at all.

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The shift in opinion has had many causes. Some of it has taken place household by household and neighborhood by neighborhood; voters are considerably more likely to support same-sex marriage if they know a gay or lesbian person personally. Meanwhile, gay characters are now much more common, and are portrayed far more positively, on television and in the movies. The hard work of thought leaders like Sullivan (who is a friend of mine) and activists like Evan Wolfson has helped to catalyze the process…

In the United States, gay marriage has gone from unthinkable to the law of the land in just a couple of decades. Homosexuality has gone from “the love that dare not speak its name” — something that could get you locked up, beat up, ostracized or killed, as is still the case in much of the world — into something that’s out-and-proud, so to speak.

In my view, of course, Americans have gotten the question of gay marriage right. So I’ll be among the 60 percent celebrating the decision tonight.

But as Graham writes, there are any number of issues on which the moral consensus we have today will be regarded as backward by our children or grandchildren. So as you celebrate or commiserate tonight, maintain some humility too. Gay marriage wasn’t the first issue on which society changed its mind, and it surely won’t be the last.

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