On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a 4-3 ruling deciding that the state had “failed to identify a constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same sex couples” (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health 2003). The decision provoked a near-immediate backlash around the nation as preachers, pundits, and politicians swung into action. The same day, a statement issued by George W. Bush’s White House declared, “Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Today’s decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court violates this important principle” (quoted in Belluck 2003). With this exchange, the stage was set to re-ignite America’s smoldering moral panic over same sex marriage.