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…



  • scragsma

    Very disappointed in Rubio and Ryan. And the ‘truce’ and ‘silence’ caucuses are, IMHO, just cowards.

  • Kevin

    Um, I want to read these politicians’ outrage over SCOTUS’s practical overturning of the voting rights act which was unanimously approved by the Senate and overwhelmingly approved by the House. Talk about 5 votes over the majority.

    • Joshua Mercer

      I didn’t support the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act, but they did not overturn the entire law. They simply removed the provision that required pre-approval from the DOJ of redistricting maps for states like Arizona and most of the South, which had used gerrymandering to disenfranchise blacks for generations. The Court left in place a mechanism in the Voting Rights Act for voters to sue if the maps were drawn in order to disenfranchise voters. What this changed, primarily, is the requirement for pre-approval of maps. No doubt that was a provision that could be justified in 1965, but in 2013? Again, I would prefer Congress removing this pre-approval requirement, though, instead of the Court.

      • SueinsoCal

        Now there is gerrymandering, at least in California, disenfranchisimg the Republican vote. Outrage, anyone?

      • John

        The South has changed a lot since 1965. As I understand it, the Court overturned the provision which required federal approval of certain states’ voting rules, as Joshua says above. They did it because Congress was in the habit of automatically renewing this law without revisiting the necessity of those specific oversight provisions from long ago. That, I believe, is what the Court rejected. It basically was saying that history does not stand still, and the targeting of these states for special scrutiny may have been warranted at one time but cannot be held in perpetuity. It was not a rejection of the Act as a whole or in principle. I don’t think this decision is unreasonable, unless my understanding is faulty.

  • James Thomson

    Thanks. That’s informative to hear these important officials’ remarks.

  • http://watsonnwatson.com JUDI WATSON

    Christie is the man I want to see in the white house, because he knows how to play nice with both sides, he knows how to compromise. he knows that is now wht we have to do we…;we can never be so far right any more if we are, we will NEVER regain the white house or both houses again!!

  • Teep

    Even though I think its worth fighting over along with Santorum and Christie, I have to disagree with Rick Santorum. No gov’t structure gets to define what marriage is. The whole point is that marriage is not, by nature a government labeled institution, but foundational and pre-governmental. The second you say that someone gets control over naming rights is the second you cede naming rights to the mob or the tyrant, which are occasionally the same thing. This is bad political thinking.

    • Joshua Mercer

      Actually, I don’t Santorum would disagree with your more precise way of saying it. He was just responding to Kennedy’s claim that the Congress cannot define marriage in federal law. I don’t think we should assume that Santorum believes that it is government truly “defining” it, so much as recognizing what it already truly is.

    • nwando

      I agree: no human being or human institution elected or unelected has the authority to define marriage. But there is one Person who can and has: God, and He defines it as a life long covenant between one man and one woman : “…man and woman He created them….and so a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife and both of them become one flesh”. Even polygamous marriage as flawed and as wrong as it is, is based on the principle that the complementarity of man and woman is required for a conjugal union. This ruling is a mockery of God and God cannot be mocked!

  • Brian C

    Pleasant surprise to see Christie in the outraged caucus.

    • Joshua Mercer

      Indeed. That was my reaction as well. I think Christie is better than conservative criticisms make him out to be. He’s governed pretty effectively in a state which is very liberal.

      • http://watsonnwatson.com JUDI WATSON

        I live in Jersey and the job he has done in this blue state is remarkable!!That is what we need and he really does care about the peop;le he is working for…and I do mean US!!!



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