Now that candidates have had time to digest the Supreme Court ruling and have began putting out lengthier statements on the case, it’s worth looking at them individually since the topic will be heavily discussed in the upcoming primary season.
Rand Paul wrote an op-ed for Time Magazine where he laid out the case for getting the government of the marriage business entirely. Here is an excerpt from that piece:
It seems some rights are more equal than others.
Marriage, though a contract, is also more than just a simple contract.
I acknowledge the right to contract in all economic and personal spheres, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a danger that a government that involves itself in every nook and cranny of our lives won’t now enforce definitions that conflict with sincerely felt religious convictions of others.
Some have argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling will now involve the police power of the state in churches, church schools, church hospitals.
This may well become the next step, and I for one will stand ready to resist any intrusion of government into the religious sphere.
Justice Clarence Thomas is correct in his dissent when he says: “In the American legal tradition, liberty has long been understood as individual freedom from governmental action, not as a right to a particular governmental entitlement.”
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.
Ted Cruz has gone on the record saying that states which were not parties to the case argued before the Supreme Court do not have to comply with the ruling. Story from Politico:
“Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it,” the Texas Republican told NPR News’ Steve Inskeep in an interview published on Monday. Since only suits against the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky were specifically considered in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which was handed down last Friday, Cruz — a former Supreme Court clerk — believes that other states with gay marriage bans need not comply, absent a judicial order.
“[O]n a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case,” the 2016 presidential contender added, “but there’s no legal obligation to acquiesce to anything other than a court judgement.”
Marco Rubio offered a quite tempered view saying that, as of the ruling, it is now the law and we must comply with it. Story from Christian Today:
In a statement posted on his website, Rubio said while he still advocates traditional marriages between men and women, the Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to get married must be followed.
“While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law,” the Republican senator said.
He nevertheless stressed that marriage is “the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman.”
The presidential aspirant also said that individual states should be allowed to enact their own laws on same-sex unions.
“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,” Rubio said.
“This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years,” he added.
The senator further said that the issue on gay marriages “is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being.”
Ben Carson offered his thoughts via the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, their ruling is now the law of the land.
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.
I support same sex civil unions but to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form.
Carly Fiorina said that marriage is a religious institution and the Supreme Court is redefining it in the face of historic precedent. Story from The Hill:
“Marriage is an institution grounded in spirituality,” she told listeners at the Western Conservative Summit 2015 in Denver.
“For millennia, through every religion in the world, marriage has meant a very specific thing,” Fiorina said.
“That is very different from five Supreme Court justices saying, ‘We’re going to tell you what marriage is,’ ” she added.
The Supreme Court ruled in a landmark 5-4 decision Friday that all states must recognize same-sex marriages under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Fiorina said Saturday their decision stole an opportunity from Americans to organically decide the issue themselves.
“We saw over the last couple days an incredible example of judicial overreach,” she said of the Supreme Court’s multiple rulings earlier this week.
“We saw an example of people giving in to politics and giving up on principles,” she said, criticizing the Supreme Court as “activist judges.”
“I am sorry the Supreme Court took up this case,” Fiorina added. “I think it was best left up to the states and the people to continue this discussion.”
Mike Huckabee is calling for civil disobedience among county clerks and officials. Story from CNN:
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee urged Christian leaders to channel Martin Luther King, Jr. by resisting the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
Huckabee pointed to King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, in which the civil rights leader advocated non-violent resistance to racism, saying that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
“I don’t think a lot of pastors and Christian schools are going to have a choice,” the Republican former Arkansas governor said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“May I ask, are we going to now discriminate against people of conscience, people of faith, who disagree with this ruling?” he said.
He said governors and attorneys general should wait for legislation implementing the Court’s ruling to be in place before they allow same-sex marriages.
“I’m not sure that every governor and every attorney general should just say, well, it’s the law of the land because there’s no enabling legislation,” he said.
He also said President Barack Obama’s administration’s move to light the White House the color of the pro-gay rights rainbow flag opens the door for Huckabee to one day set up a nativity scene on the executive mansion’s lawn.
“If I become president, I just want to remind people that please don’t complain if I were to put a nativity scene out during Christmas and say, ‘If it’s my house, I get to do what I wish,'” Huckabee said.
Rick Santorum said the Supreme Court decision upset the foundation of the world. Story from Mediaite:
“Justice Kennedy said the only reason that any could oppose gay marriage is because they hated gays and lesbians, which almost stops you in your tracks,” Santorum said. The 2016 hopeful then went on to say that changes in culture have resulted in the change of laws and words, and that Kennedy’s swing vote could have cataclysmic consequences by re-defining marriage.
“A 5-4 decision is going to try to affect the basic foundation of America, and frankly, now, with America leading the way, potentially disrupting the foundation of the world.”
Jeb Bush says it is an issue that should have been left to states for a decision. Story from the Washington Times:
The GOP presidential candidate said that the court should have left the decision up to the states.
“I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments,” he said. “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.”
Lindsey Graham said the ruling puts this issue to bed and the Republican Party should remove the goal of a Federal Marriage Amendment from the official party platform. Story from NBC News:
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that if the Republican party doesn’t change its official position on same-sex marriage it will “hurt” the GOP in 2016. In 2012, the Republican platform read, “We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Echoing former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, Graham argued that Republicans should abandon that official 2012 position. Graham continued, “What I want to do is protect the religious liberties of those who believe that opposing same sex marriage as part of their faith. So no I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court’s ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American.”
Chris Christie believes the power should rest with the states and disagrees with the court ruling. Story from nj.com:
Gov. Chris Christie’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision concerning gay marriage was the following: “I think this is something that should be decided by the people of the state and not imposed upon them by a group of lawyers siting in black robes at the Supreme Court”
Donald Trump says he supports “traditional marriage” and disagrees with the Supreme Court Ruling. However, Trump was grilled by a CNN host over his three marriages. Story from Bloomberg:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says that he supports “traditional marriage” but that gay people who might question whether his three marriages qualify as traditional “have a very good point.”
“They have a very good point,” Trump said. “But, you know, I’ve been a very hardworking person. I’ve had—actually, I have a great marriage, I have a great wife now. My two wives were very good, and I don’t blame them. But I was working maybe, like you, 22 hours a day.”
Host Jake Tapper said he wasn’t asking Trump to explain his divorces, but Trump continued, saying, “I blame myself because my business was so powerful for me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
Asked again what he would say to a married gay person questioning him on the issue, Trump said, “I really don’t say anything. I’m just, I’m just, I’m for traditional marriage.”
That’s pretty much the wrap-up on the Republican side. The prevailing view seems to be that this is an issue that should be left to the states and the voters to decide. Clearly there will be some debate over it within the GOP field over the next several months.