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Republican Presidential Candidates Respond to Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling

Republican Presidential Candidates Respond to Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legal same-sex marriage across the United States in a historic vote. The decision was met with an outpouring of praise and criticism as Americans digested the news that would ultimately change the course of United States history. 

Most Republican presidential candidates were quick to voice their opinions on the decision.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suggested Americans abide by the law, though he does not approve of the ruling. 

"While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law,” Rubio said. "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."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the ruling displays a need for 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.”

He also called for an amendment to the Constitution that would give individual states the right to define marriage.

“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,” Walker said.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham disagreed, arguing that the Constitution should not be amended.

“Given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that any 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,” Graham said. “Rather than pursuing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, "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.” 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal pointed to religion as the ultimate law. 

"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," he said.

"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."

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson also pointed to religion in his statement. 

"I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected. The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs,” he said. 

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called for peace.

"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,” he said. 

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said, "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject tyranny, not retreat."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said that the Supreme Court’s decision effectively said that “the only reason you could possibly oppose changing marriage laws in America is because you hate people of the same sex who want to marry. But that’s not true.” 

“It’s a decision based on a lie. It’s a decision based on fundamental untruths. And yet it is the law of the land,” he said. 

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz accused the Supreme Court justices of violating their judicial oaths.

"What happened last week is twice, back-to-back, the U.S. Supreme Court — a majority of the justices violated their judicial oath,” he said. 

"What we saw instead is five unelected lawyers saying the views of 320 Americans don't matter because they're going to enforce their own policies."

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was perhaps the slowest GOP candid to respond to the ruling, ultimately writing his opinion in a Time op-ed. 

He wrote, “While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract.” 

“The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage. Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.”

Publication date: June 29, 2015