Photo credit: Ted Eytan (CC-By-2.0)
Photo credit: Ted Eytan (CC-By-2.0)
Photo credit: Ted Eytan (CC-By-2.0)

Below are reactions from different candidates, groups and activists about the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same sex marriage.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal:

The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  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. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.

I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee:

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. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many.  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 laws of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.

Iowa’s Catholic Bishops released a joint statement:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage saddens us. To make something legal does not mean that it is true or good. Take, for example, the ruling that legalized abortion.

Notwithstanding this ruling, we will continue to lead people to live under the Gospel, which requires us to be humble and loving to all others, regardless.

The Gospel also compels us to defend and share with others Jesus’ teaching on marriage, which re-asserted the original plan of creation, and which no one can rend asunder: One man and one woman who freely give themselves to each other in a permanent and exclusive partnership, to be helpmates for each other, and to be open to conceiving and bringing up children.

We believe that this understanding of marriage does no harm; on the contrary, it serves the common good of society, as well as the good of family life, and of children.

We still expect that true religious liberty, enshrined in our Constitution, and won at such a dear price, will be honored, allowing us to be guided by a faith-formed conscience in our teaching and practice.”

Most Rev. Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque
Most Rev. Martin Amos, Bishop of Davenport
Most Rev. Richard Pates, Bishop of Des Moines
Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City

The FAMiLY Leader:

Today’s Supreme Court opinion, saying the 14th Amendment “requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex,” is not good for America.

The Court succumbed to demands to invent a new constitutional “right” (to same-sex “marriage”) never imagined by our Founders nor “endowed by our Creator.”

The Court did not so much redefine marriage, as it worked to undefineit altogether, to separate the institution from its anchor in the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” leaving future courts no legal basis for disqualifying any number of relationships from being called a “marriage.”

Furthermore, the Court’s decision was a judicial assault on the separation of powers and the American form of government. At the heart of every American liberty is the freedom for all Americans to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day.

And yet the Supreme Court overrode the judgment of over 50 million Americans who recently voted to reaffirm natural marriage as the union of a man and a woman. By elevating itself to the sole arbiter of determining policy, the Court is effectively stripping all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide major issues through the democratic process.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court’s opinion won’t end society’s discussion about the future of marriage and laws affecting the family.

When the Supreme Court handed down the Dred Scott decision, for example, it didn’t end the debate about slavery, but only intensified it.Roe v. Wade didn’t end the debate over abortion, for we’re still working through it today. Likewise, Obergefell v. Hodges, doesn’t end the debate, but only stirs it.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:

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.’ In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. 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.

Recognizing that our Founders made our Constitution difficult to amend, I am reminded that it was first amended to protect our ‘First Freedom’ – the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment does not simply protect a narrow ‘right to worship,’ but provides broad protection to individuals and institutions to worship and act in accordance with their religious beliefs. In fact, the Wisconsin constitution explicitly protects the rights of conscience of our citizens. I can assure all Wisconsinites concerned about the impact of today’s decision that your conscience rights will be protected, and the government will not coerce you to act against your religious beliefs.

“I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.

Peggy Nance – CEO/President of Concerned Women for America:

It is a sad day in America when nine unelected justices think themselves so powerful that they dare overturn the votes of millions of Americans who went to the voting booth to preserve marriage as it has been understood throughout history, the union between one man and one woman.

For that reason, this case is about much more than marriage and will go down in history alongside other appalling Supreme Court rulings, like Dred Scott and Roe.

Just as the lives of more than 55 million babies lost through abortion echo through the chambers of the Court every day, so the negative impact of this illegitimate decision will sound before the Court for years to come.

The Court solves nothing with this ill-advised ruling, but only intensifies the culture wars, as it did in Roe, by cutting short a healthy debate about the definition of marriage, family, and sexuality that our country is having.  All Americans should stand against such overreach, whatever their views on marriage.

Still, whatever the Justices say, we know the truth. We know that every life matters, whatever their race, and no matter if they are still in the womb.  Likewise, we know that marriage is an institution created by God as the union of one man and one woman, reflecting the relationship between Him and us.

Therefore, we do not despair. We have much work to do to reestablish a pro-marriage, pro-family culture in our nation, but we embrace the challenges ahead, knowing that we stand on solid ground when we say that marriage, as intended by God, is the best model for strong, healthy, stable families that serve as the only secure foundation for our society’s future.

Concerned Women for America will continue to work to support marriage in all areas, including combating the harmful effects of cohabitation, divorce, and the redefinition of marriage.

Frank Cannon – President of American Principles in Action:

Obergefell v. Hodges is indeed the next Roe v. Wade, serving as another example of the Supreme Court acting as a political body instead of a constitutional body. By inventing a constitutional right to gay marriage, the Court has now put our fundamental right to religious liberty in jeopardy. Will people of faith be persecuted for believing marriage is between one man and one woman? Will religious businesses cease to exist?

The fight for religious liberty is now even more important. The Republican Party and its presidential candidates must affirm their support for religious liberty protections for people of faith.

We will stand up on this issue. The fight continues. It’s not over.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry:

I am disappointed the Supreme Court today chose to change the centuries old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I’m a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum:

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell, director of the ADF Center for Marriage and Family:

The Supreme Court has stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The court took that freedom from the people and overrode the considered judgment of tens of millions of Americans who recently reaffirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The court cast aside the understanding of marriage’s nature and purpose that diverse cultures and faiths across the globe have embraced for millennia.

Americans who understand the good of marriage still have great opportunities to communicate and model how the unique union of one man and one woman benefits society. Although the ongoing debate about marriage now enters a new phase, it is far from over. ADF will continue to advocate the truth about marriage and redouble its efforts to ensure that those who believe in the long-recognized definition of marriage will be free to hold, express, and live out their beliefs.

Iowa GOP Co-Chair Cody Hoefert:

We believe, and still believe, that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s decision changed law by fiat and unfortunately continued this Court’s history of legislating from the bench.

Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann:

The recent Supreme Court decisions have only proven once again that we must redouble our effort to elect a Republican to the White House in 2016 — one who will nominate judges who respect the different roles of our three branches.

American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp:

The American people have received two devastating rulings from a Supreme Court that has become unhinged from its purpose.  As with other catastrophic decisions, this Court is attempting to resolve through judicial fiat questions appropriately belonging in the hands of the American people.  That is the opposite of what our Founders envisioned.

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has dramatically re-imagined the role of our Judiciary and has empowered the Court to behave as unelected legislators without term limits.

It should come as no surprise given yesterday’s tragic dismantling of a government of, for, and by the People, that the Roberts Court has moved us farther in the direction of using the Judiciary to serve political ends by disregarding the notion of constitutionality in today’s decision.  Sadly, one consequence of this overreach will undoubtedly be growing resentment and rancor around these issues.  As in the Roe vs. Wade decision concerning abortion, usurping the will of the people does not resolve conflict, it only extends it.

The 1st Amendment clearly states that Religious Liberties are protected.  However, President Obama and the liberals ignore this protection and seek to dictate what are ‘appropriate’ tenets of faith.  Today’s opinion creates the Church of the Supreme Court, with President Obama serving as its High Priest.

If America is strong enough to live under this decision, then it should be strong enough to protect the rights of sincere and decent people of faith, whose rights are sadly forgotten.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):

I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion. Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is compelled by law to violate their conscience.

I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):

I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision.

Furthermore, given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress.

Rather than pursing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans. No person of faith should ever be forced by the federal government to take action that goes against his or her conscience or the tenets of their religion.

As president, I would staunchly defend religious liberty in this nation and would devote the necessary federal resources to the protection of all Americans from any effort to hinder the free and full exercise of their rights. While we have differences, it is time for us to move forward together respectfully and as one people.

Franklin Graham – President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled today that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. With all due respect to the court, it did not define marriage, and therefore is not entitled to re-define it.

Long before our government came into existence, marriage was created by the One who created man and woman—Almighty God—and His decisions are not subject to review or revision by any manmade court. God is clear about the definition of marriage in His Holy Word: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

I pray God will spare America from His judgment, though, by our actions as a nation, we give Him less and less reason to do so.

Tony Perkins – President of the Family Research Council:

Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.

In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.

No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court.

Marriage is rooted not only in human history, but also in the biological and social reality that children are created by, and do best when raised by, a mother and a father. No court ruling can alter this truth.

It is folly for the Court to think that it has resolved a controversial issue of public policy. By disenfranchising 50 million Americans, the Court has instead supercharged this issue.

Just as with Roe v. Wade in 1973, the courts will not have the final say on this profound social matter.  The American people will stand up for their right to have a voice and a vote, especially as they experience the ways in which redefining marriage fundamentally impairs their freedom to live and work in accordance with their beliefs.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Americans will not stop standing for transcendent truth, nor accept the legitimacy of this decision.  Truth is not decided by polls or the passage of time, but by the One who created time and everything that exists therein.

We will not lapse into silence but will continue to speak uncompromisingly for the truth about what marriage is, always has been, and always will be: the union of one man and one woman.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa):

Traditional marriage has been a pillar of our society for thousands of years—one that has remained constant across cultures, even with the rise and fall of nations.  I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.  Marriage is a sacred institution.  Its definition should not be subject to the whims of the Supreme Court where five justices appointed to interpret the Constitution instead imposed social and political values inconsistent with the text of the Constitution and the framers’ intent.  Today’s decision robs the right of citizens to define marriage through the democratic process.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and nobody should have their deeply-held religious beliefs trampled by their government. Although the decision is the law of the land, at least for now, history has taught us that a cultural debate like this one will not be settled with this ruling. I expect we will be debating marriage for years to come.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in an op/ed in National Review:

This week, we have twice seen Supreme Court Justices violating their judicial oaths. Yesterday, the Justices re-wrote Obamacare, yet again, in order to force this failed law on the American people. Today, the Court doubled down with a 5-4 opinion that undermines not just the definition of marriage, but the very foundations of our representative form of government.

Both decisions were judicial activism, plain and simple. Both were lawless….

….Sadly, the political reaction from the leaders of my party is all too predictable. They will pretend to be incensed, and then plan to do absolutely nothing.

That is unacceptable. On the substantive front, I have already introduced a constitutional amendment to preserve the authority of elected state legislatures to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and also legislation stripping the federal courts of jurisdiction over legal assaults on marriage.

….Not only are the Court’s opinions untethered from reason and logic, they are also alien to our constitutional system of limited and divided government. By redefining the meaning of common words, and redesigning the most basic human institutions, this Court has crossed from the realm of activism into the arena of oligarchy. (read the rest)

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

Regardless of what a narrow majority of the Supreme Court may declare at this moment in history, the nature of the human person and marriage remains unchanged and unchangeable. Just as Roe v. Wade did not settle the question of abortion over forty years ago, Obergefell v. Hodges does not settle the question of marriage today. Neither decision is rooted in the truth, and as a result, both will eventually fail. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.

The unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is inscribed in our bodies as male and female. The protection of this meaning is a critical dimension of the “integral ecology” that Pope Francis has called us to promote. Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home.

Jesus Christ, with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth.

I encourage Catholics to move forward with faith, hope, and love: faith in the unchanging truth about marriage, rooted in the immutable nature of the human person and confirmed by divine revelation; hope that these truths will once again prevail in our society, not only by their logic, but by their great beauty and manifest service to the common good; and love for all our neighbors, even those who hate us or would punish us for our faith and moral convictions.

Lastly, I call upon all people of good will to join us in proclaiming the goodness, truth, and beauty of marriage as rightly understood for millennia, and I ask all in positions of power and authority to respect the God-given freedom to seek, live by, and bear witness to the truth.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush:

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.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa):

I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws.

While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level.

Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa):

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