The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision today that states must recognize same-sex unions citing 14th Amendment protections.
Here are some reactions from Florida:
Sen. Bill Nelson
“Today’s ruling reaffirms one of the paramount principles of America that we’re all created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”
Nadine Smith, CEO of Equality Florida
“We are thrilled and relieved. Most of all we are secure — knowing that our relationships and our families will be respected in every part of America.
“We’re also glad that marriage equality, which we worked so hard to achieve in Florida, is now extended to every state in the country. Since same-sex couples began marrying in Florida, we have seen the beauty of love and commitment. We have seen the joy. We’ve seen how it brings families together. We’re happy that people in other states will get to experience this too.
“A majority of our Supreme Court, appointed by both Republicans and Democrats, has reaffirmed this most basic premise of our democracy, that all of us are created equal. As Harvey Milk once said, ‘No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.’
“We must remember too that our work is not done.
“Marriage equality won’t help a 15-year-old kid who is being bullied in school because of his sexual orientation.
“It won’t help a transgender person facing derision and exclusion.
“And it won’t help anyone who can still be legally denied a job, a place to live, or equal treatment in public spaces, because of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Today’s victory is a sign of what’s right in America — that all of us matter, that all of us deserve the same freedoms and legal protections.
“It is also a sign of how broadly and quickly public opinion has changed on this issue. Now we need to harness that energy to finish the work that remains undone.”
Former Gov. Jeb Bush (and Republican candidate for the presidency)
“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.”
Sen. 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. 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.”
Terry Fleming, co-president of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida
“It’s an historic day, we are so excited , it’s been a long time coming and we’re so glad the supreme court has recognized the basic dignity of all human beings with this ruling. Now same sex couples can get married across this country no matter where they live. Their relationships will be recognized with the full respect as their straight counter parts.”
Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General
“We have always sought finality on this important constitutional issue, and today the United States Supreme Court provided the clarity our state and country was seeking. Our country has vigorously debated the issue, with good people on all sides. Many on both sides feel strongly about the issue, having deeply held and sincere beliefs. Legal efforts were not about personal beliefs or opinions, but rather, the rule of law. The United States Supreme Court has the final word on interpreting the Constitution, and the court has spoken.”
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida 3rd District
“The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision today is a clear demonstration of legislating from the bench. The ruling today is disappointing not only for the fact that the court has now forced states to redefine marriage but it removes millions of Americans from the democratic process of choosing – for themselves – what defines marriage.
“Chief Justice Roberts makes a valid point in his dissent that I am sure is shared by many Americans, “Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role…And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after a quite extensive discussion.”
“With this type of legislating from the bench, what is the point of States’ rights? If we continue to go down this path what would be the point of state elections and state legislatures? I’m deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court ruled against the Constitution twice in the last week. I agree with Justice Antonin Scalia when he stated in his dissent, “A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.”
“We cannot allow our Constitution to be eroded. I will continue to fight for States’ rights and to stop this continued Federal power grab.”
Michelle Cretella, MD, president of the American College of Pediatricians
“This is a tragic day for America’s children. The SCOTUS has just undermined the single greatest pro-child institution in the history of mankind: the natural family. Just as it did in the joint Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton decisions, the SCOTUS has elevated and enshrined the wants of adults over the needs of children.”
Harry Mihet, vice president of legal affairs at the Liberty Council
“We believe that every child in America deserves the right and the joy of growing up with both a mother and a father. This decision legalizes relationships that will forever deprive America’s children of that opportunity and that right. The institution of marriage fundamentally, by its very core and definition, is the union of one man and one woman and it predates The Supreme Court. The Supreme Court didn’t create it and therefore it’s powerless to change it or redefine it. Just as, for example, the Supreme Court cannot change the law of gravity, The Supreme Court cannot change the law of marriage. Marriage ceases to be marriage when it is applied to anyone other than a man and a woman.”
“Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but just because the five unelected judges on the Supreme Court decide to call a same-sex union a marriage that does not make it so. The Supreme Court has no authority or power to change the law of nature.”
John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council
“When you remove the gender requirements for marriage, there’s no end to the combinations. What about polygamists, what about group marriage advocates, what about the triplet? Are we going to draw any line at all? And when marriage can mean anything, marriage means nothing.”
More to be added as they are received.