clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Republican reactions to the Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, ranked by anger

Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Reactions from Republican presidential hopefuls to the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide are pouring in. While everyone says they oppose the decision, there's a great deal of variation in tone, with some denouncing the decision harshly and others seeming more accepting. Another emerging dividing line is whether candidates support a push for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court's decision, which would define marriage as only between a man and a woman. Here are the reactions that have come in so far, from most outraged to least. We'll add more as they come in.

  1. Ted Cruz: In an interview with Sean Hannity, Cruz said the past day was "some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation's history," due to the Obamacare and same-sex marriage decisions. In Iowa, Cruz reportedly said the decision was the "very definition of lawlessness, that it was "naked and unadulterated judicial activism," and that it put religious liberty "front and center in the target of the federal government," according to Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune. He added that the decision would "renew the press for" a constitutional convention.
  2. 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. ... The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity."
  3. Bobby Jindal: "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."
  4. Rick Santorum: "Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input. Now is the people's opportunity to respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. ... Marriage, the family and our children are too central to a healthy society to not fight for what is best. I realized that fact early on and that is why I lead the charge against some in my own party in 2004 to ensure the Federal Marriage Amendment received a vote and I continue to stand for marriage, for families, for freedom."
  5. Scott Walker: "I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. ... 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."
  6. 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.
  7. Carly Fiorina: "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. ... 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."
  8. Marco Rubio: "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… 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."
  9. Ben Carson: "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... I support same sex civil unions but to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form."
  10. John Kasich (through a spokesperson): "The governor has always believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but our nation's highest court has spoken and we must respect its decision."
  11. Chris Christie: "I agree with the dissent that Chief Justice Roberts authored today. I think this is something that should be decided by the people of each state and not imposed upon them by a group of lawyers in black robes sitting at the U.S. Supreme Court. That being said, those five lawyers get to impose it under our system. And so our job is going to be to support the law of the land. … But I don’t agree with the way it’s been done."
  12. 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."
  13. Lindsey Graham: "I am a proud defender of traditional marriage... [but] 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 pursuing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans."

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.