(CBS News) The Supreme Court's rulings last week that signaled a significant victory for same-sex couples is about more than just a marriage altar, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, argued Sunday on "Face the Nation" - "it's literally about altering the landscape of America."
"We're going to see a loss of religious freedom, there is no question about it - it's already happening," Perkins said. "We're already seeing bakers and florists and photographers forced to participate in same-sex marriages under the threat of law and, in some cases, even jail. I can't think of anything that's more un-American than that."
Perkins said that in states like Washington and Colorado, which house anti-discrimination statutes, "when a same-sex couple comes and says, 'I want you to take pictures of my wedding,' or, 'I want you to bake a cake,' and they say, 'Well look, my religious convictions will not allow me to participate in that,' they're literally being sued by the government, not the individuals. And they've even been adjudicated in such places as New Mexico."
In a 5-4 decision last week, the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the 17-year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits - like Social Security or the ability to file joint tax returns - to same-sex couples legally married. At the same time, the court also dismissed on procedural grounds a case considering the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban Proposition 8, leaving in place a lower court's decision to strike down the measure but passing up an opportunity to define whether marriage is a constitutionally protected right for all couples, gay or straight.
"Certainly both these cases were disappointing, although I have to say on the California case, the Prop. 8 case... they actually wanted to use that case to impose same-sex marriage on the entire nation, and they failed in that - the court simply punted it back to California," Perkins said. Lambasting the court's "activism," he added that the justices have "dragged 'We the people' from behind the wheel of this republic, and they've carjacked the nation. And this never ends up good."
Still, many conservatives have pointed to court's effective pass on defining marriage as a silver lining, and Perkins conceded it "buys a little time" for his and other organizations that oppose same-sex marriage to attract public support on their side. "I think Americans will begin to see that with same-sex marriage does not come a hope chest; rather it's a Pandora's box," he said.
"It's the reality that people will come face-to-face with over time, because right now same-sex marriage is limited to 12 jurisdictions," Perkins continued. "And as more people see that their freedoms, the freedoms of parents to determine what their children are taught, to be able to live your life according to your faith, all of that's at risk here. I think people will say, 'Wait a minute, that's not - I gave a nod of affirmation, but not to that.' And so I do think there's going to be time to rethink this."
Shortly following the "Face the Nation" broadcast, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a request from Prop. 8 supporters to stop the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in California. Appearing just before Perkins, former Solicitor General Ted Olson, who argued in favor of same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court, predicted Kennedy's move.
"I don't believe they can be successful," he said of the Prop. 8 supporters. "They lost in the district court, they lost in the court of appeals and they've lost in the United States Supreme Court. They lost in the California Supreme Court.
"The United States Supreme Court said that they did not have standing under the law to challenge the overturning of Proposition 8," he continued. "I don't believe they're going to get anywhere. And I think we'll be better off in this country if we stopped doing this sort of thing that is divisive and is hurting people who live next door, who work for us, who are our cousins and brothers and sisters. ...We should be treating all of our citizens equally irrespective of their sexual orientation. This is something that they did not choose to be."
Olson praised the Supreme Court's decisions for signaling "equality for so many of our citizens who for so long have been discriminated against.
"Proposition 8 in California put in the constitution of California a statement that these individuals and their relationships were not equal and were second class. And we've removed that stigma," he went on. "And you can see joy - tears of joy and happiness in hundreds of thousands of people getting married in California to the person that they love."
A self-described conservative and the solicitor general under the Reagan and Bush administrations, Olson forecasted a shift among both parties in how same-sex marriage is treated.
"Some Republicans have not yet come to understand that this is the right thing for all of our country to do," he said. "But, as I said, the polls have change enormously. ...Republicans are changing, Democrats are changing. I think the day is going to come, maybe within just a few years, when the Republican party - just like the Democratic party - all Americans believe in equal treatment for all of our citizens."