2016 hopefuls give four different reactions on marriage rulings


Outrage. Disappointment. Truce. Silence.

These are the four very different reactions among 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls to the Supreme Court’s decision to rip a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act from the books.


The Outraged Caucus: Those who seem truly upset about the decision


Rick Santorum: “The Founding Fathers established a country that said that the people are the one who get to make these decisions. Not five unelected people on the Supreme Court. And the federal government has a right in my mind to define what marriage is. Just like every state has a right to determine and define what marriage is.”

Christopher Christie

Chris Christie: “It’s typical of the problem we see in the New Jersey Supreme Court. The Court, without a basis in standing, substituted their own judgment for the judgment of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President…. It’s just another example of judicial supremacy rather than having the government run by the people we actually vote for. I thought it was a bad decision… I thought that Justice (Anthony) Kennedy’s opinion in many respects was incredibly insulting to those people, 340-some members of Congress who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, and Bill Clinton,” he said. “They basically said the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people.”



Ted Cruz: “Today’s Supreme Court decisions on marriage are a regrettable overreach against the will of the people as expressed through large, bipartisan majorities in Congress and directly through referendum in California – a markedly blue state. Nothing in the Constitution compelled this result, and, once again, the Court has chosen to substitute its own views of public policy for the democratically expressed will of the voters. The family is the fundamental building block of society, and I strongly support traditional marriage between one man and one woman. The voters of California made that same choice, until the courts improperly substituted their preferences for those of the people.”


The ‘Disappointed’ Caucus: Those who lament the Court’s decision (but perhaps lack the vigor to fight back?) 

Paul Ryan


Paul Ryan (who recently announced that he supports gay adoption): “The institution of marriage is a unique relationship between one man and one woman. It is the foundation for the family. I respect those who have a different view, and I hope we can carry on this conversation with civility and understanding,” he wrote in his statement. “There are honest disagreements over how we should recognize different legal arrangements. The states will now decide this issue through the democratic process.”

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio: “I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important, but limited role. I do not believe that President Clinton and overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress acted with malice or intent to ‘demean’ a class of people when they adopted a uniform definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law. The Court should not have second guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications.”


The Truce Caucus: Those who think the GOP needs to avoid a ‘cultural war’ (but will the Left “agree to disagree”?)

Rand Paul  Remarks at CPAC


Rand Paul: “As a country we can agree to disagree,” Paul said today, stopping for a moment to talk as he walked through the Capitol. “As a Republican Party, that’s kind of where we are as well. The party is going to have to agree to disagree on some of these issues.” Paul said he agreed with Kennedy, whom he called “someone who doesn’t just want to be in front of opinion but wants government to keep up with opinion.” He said Kennedy “tried to strike a balance.”


The Silence Caucus: Those who refused to comment on a landmark court case with national and state implications


Scott Walker: “Governor Walker is committed first and foremost to continuing his work to turn our state’s economy around and getting people back to work.  We’ve made a good start, but that work isn’t finished, and it is his only priority,” said campaign spokesman Jonathan Wetzel.


(Gov. Rick Perry was very busy fighting for a pro-life bill and calling for another special session, so I haven’t seen him make a statement. Any other 2016 contenders? Haven’t heard from Jeb Bush…

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org


About Author

Joshua Mercer is a co-founder of CatholicVote.org, where he serves as Political Director. Mercer is also regular contributor with Catholic Pulse. Mercer previously served as Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register and Chairman for Students for Life of America. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.

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