Democrats raise funds after high court 'victory' on same-sex marriage

Democratic groups on Wednesday embraced the Supreme Court's ruling overturning the Defense of Marriage Act as a victory for same-sex couples — and as an opportunity to raise funds for future fights, including campaign battles in 2014.

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House Majority PAC, one of the main political action committees (PAC) working to elect Democrats to the House and the Democratic National Committee were among the first groups to press supporters for funds in the wake of the ruling.

"This victory was only one step towards equality — but our work goes on. The Tea Party is going to go all in — not just on marriage equality but all of their extremist social agenda," House Majority PAC Communications Director Andy Stone said in an email blast to supporters.

"We can deliver a powerful message of support to show the Tea Party that we are standing united and strong. All eyes will be on Democrats’ fundraising totals after this ruling."

The Democratic National Committee email, signed by committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), says "the tide has turned in our favor," and asks supporters to "commit to standing with the Democrats who are fighting for equality today."

She asks supporters to "make sure we have more days like this to celebrate."

Separately, the American Civil Liberties Union also seized on the ruling to reach out to donors. The group asked supporters to "donate now to support the ACLU's work and help spearhead challenges to state marriage bans that still prevent millions of loving same-sex couples from getting married."

The deadline for committees and PACs to file their fundraising numbers with the Federal Election Commission is Sunday, and the energy created among progressives by the high court's decision could offer Democratic groups a quick way to pad their coffers in a final surge before June 30.

Democrats have trumpeted the Supreme Court ruling as a major victory.

Republicans have been more muted. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he's "disappointed," but seemed to indicate no congressional action has been planned to reinstate the law.

"While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances,” he said in a statement. “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

Boehner and House Republicans spent millions of dollars to defend the law in court after the Obama administration declined to enforce it.

And Republican grassroots groups are pledging to pick up the fight where Boehner left off.

“We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a statement.

Aides to a number of groups suggested the effort could focus on passing a new version of the Defense of Marriage Act in the House, or creating new protections for religious freedoms. The path to that legislative response would likely begin in the House and weave its way through deep-red districts, where lawmakers remain beholden to the social conservative base of the GOP.

Gary Marx, Faith and Freedom Coalition executive director, said the group had warned lawmakers at their day of action on Capitol Hill last week that they would expect a response if DOMA is overturned.

“We told House leadership that if DOMA is mitigated or undercut, we expected them to step forward and provide suitable solutions,” he said, and added that they plan to follow through with that expectation.

Maggie Gallagher, a fellow at the social conservative American Principles Project, said various grassroots groups have action meetings planned for next week to discuss steps moving forward.

She said that beyond the immediate electoral implications, she expects the ruling will increase pressure on 2016 GOP contenders.

“It’s going to put a new focus on who we elect president in 2016. Clearly a candidate’s position on Supreme Court Justices will matter even more following this decision,” she said.

The tide, however, may be turning against the anti-same-sex-marriage movement. 

A survey released early Wednesday showed 55 percent of Americans support gay marriage, and nearly every Democrat in the Senate has come out in favor of it, indicating the issue is moot in the upper chamber.