Conservative culture warriors need to prepare for disappointment. If the US Supreme Court reached the core constitutional issues in the two gay marriage cases before it this term (Hollingsworth v. Perry and Windsor v. United States), social conservatives will likely lose one, and perhaps both decisions.
Without getting into the legal weeds, three factors enhance the likelihood of at least one negative outcome: favorable court precedents (see Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas), Justice Kennedy’s penchant for evolving societal standards, and the text of the constitution’s 5th and 14th amendments (one cannot be deprived of “liberty” without a trial; everyone must be given “equal protection of the laws”).
Regardless of the outcome in either of case, conservatives must react wisely. In the unlikely event marriage traditionalists are blessed with a victory, they must embrace it gracefully; ebullience will send the wrong message to voters. If a defeat occurs, culture warriors must avoid the stridently intransigent rhetoric commonly embraced by caffeinated social conservatives. Instead, disappointed Americans should reconsider the government’s role in the marriage equation, and meticulously prepare for the next battle – non-profit hiring policies.