Top social conservative worried the right may lose on gay marriage

Schlafly said North Carolina's vote Tuesday to ban gay marriage showed where the country is on the issue but worried about the future. She blamed the public education system for shifting public values.

"I think the passage of the [North Carolina] constitutional amendment is a good indication of where the country is right now, but the gay lobby has taken over the public schools, they have inserted their propaganda very much in the schools and we do see the evidence of that," she said. "I'm worried about what kind of mischief they're teaching in the schools. It isn't just the gays, it's some other groups. The schools are a real threat to the future of our country."

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Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and the head of American Values, disagreed that Obama's statement would help boost gay marriage — or that the tide has turned against his side on the issue.

"I tend to think that the younger voters who today say they're for same-sex unions will get married, have children and have a different opinion later … It's not surprising younger voters tend to be socially liberal but those views should not be subject to stasis analysis," he told The Hill.

"Whether or not Obama's statement is a game-changer really depends on how this plays out over the course of this campaign. They could look back at this election and say 'Man, we're never doing that again.'"

He and other social conservatives predicted short-term gains from Obama's statement.

"He's playing to his constituency," Schlafly said. "I do not think it's going to help him get reelected — witness the vote in North Carolina, where the Democrats are having their national convention. I don't think that decision is going to help him."

Bauer put out a statement blasting Obama's position, but his inclusion of economic issues indicated how much this election is likely to be about the economy, not social issues.

"Four years ago, in 2008, Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term — and made clear his support traditional marriage. All those promises are now broken," Bauer said in a statement. "At a time of high unemployment and severe economic distress, President Obama chose the week he launched his reelection campaign to flip-flop on same-sex marriage. Combined with his administration’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, it reveals a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans."

Bauer predicted that Obama would suffer in areas like the Florida Panhandle, southeast Ohio and Iowa, where three state Supreme Court justices were recalled by voters after legalizing same-sex marriage.

"This election is about jobs and the economy but what he has done is given an unanticipated gift-wrapped package to the Romney campaign, which was somewhat concerned about winning over Evangelical voters," he said. "Key staffers in Boston just scratched half their to-do lists off, they don't have to worry about that anymore … if this fuels a larger than normal faith-based vote it's a recipe for defeat for Obama in some of these key battleground states."