The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that all same-sex marriage bans violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, a decision that effectively brings marriage equality to every state in America. My colleague Mark Joseph Stern has more on the decision itself here, but below you’ll find a rundown of the reactions from the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls.
The high court’s same-sex marriage ruling will be an interesting test for the GOP field ahead of the 2016 elections. Polls show that the majority of Americans now support marriage equality, a position the justices effectively codified with their decision. But opposition remains strong among large swaths of a GOP base that will play a large role in deciding who the party’s eventual nominee will be. The White House hopefuls will now need to decide whether to continue to fight a battle they have lost in the nation’s highest court, or to begrudgingly accept the ruling and move on. Doing the former would likely help a candidate in the primary but hurt come the general election, and vice versa.
We’ll continue to add responses as we see them, but the fact that they haven’t come in at the same fast and furious clip that they did after Thursday’s Obamacare ruling is telling.
Jeb Bush weighed in carefully in his statement:
“Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.”
Mike Huckabee not so much in his:
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. … This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. … The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny. The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity.”
Meanwhile, Scott Walker called for or a Constitutional amendment to allow states to define marriage on their own, via Facebook:
“I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges ‘has been with us for millennia.’ … The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”
Rick Santorum weighed in with a pair of tweets:
“Today, 5 unelected judges redefined the foundational unit of society. Now it is the people’s turn to speak #Marriage … The Court is 1 of 3 coequal branches of government & they have an imperfect record. Stakes are too high to cede marriage to unelected judges”
Bobby Jindal in a statement:
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that. This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty. The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. … I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.”
And Carly Fiorina on Facebook:
“This is only the latest example of an activist Court ignoring its constitutional duty to say what the law is and not what the law should be. … The Court ruled today that all Americans should receive equal benefits and rights from the government under the law. I have always supported this view. However, this decision was also about the definition of marriage itself. I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country. Moving forward, however, all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience for those Americans that profoundly disagree with today’s decision. The Court did not and could not end this debate today.”
The mood on the Democratic side of the race, meanwhile, was just a bit different:
- Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional
- The Beautiful Closing Paragraph of Justice Kennedy’s Gay Marriage Ruling
- The Supreme Court Just Made My Marriage Legal
- Gay Marriage Will Have Unintended Consequences
This post was updated with additional responses as they became available.