National reactions to gay marriage wins at Supreme Court

“Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage.”

– U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

“The enormity of today’s decisions cannot be overstated. The combined impact of these two rulings puts our nation further down the inevitable and proper path towards full marriage equality for the LGBT community. All Americans should rejoice in today’s decisions because they bring us that much closer to fulfilling the promise of our Constitution.”

– Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of Interfaith Alliance

“We have seen a rapidity of cultural change that is mind-boggling. Christians of every denomination need desperately to repent of our sin, call upon the name of the Lord, and be more involved than ever in being salt and light! We should be thankful that our God is not involved in changing his mind or listening to every wind of culture…We believe this is a wrong decision with far-reaching moral and religious liberty implications.”

– Frank S. Page, President and CEO, Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention

“We have long believed that the principle of equal treatment under federal law means equal treatment for all. The Court’s landmark decision in Windsor affirms the principle that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to all of the federal rights, protections and benefits of civil marriage. The Court’s second decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry is good news for same-sex couples in California. We welcome that result and will continue to work towards the day when all states in the nation will allow civil marriage for same-sex couples.”

– Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham H. Foxman, national chair and national director, respectively, of the The Anti-Defamation League

“We are deeply saddened by today’s decision to not only allow but encourage same-sex marriage in our country—a country that was founded on biblical principles. We mourn for America’s future, but we are not without hope. Our next line of defense is to vigorously protect our religious liberty.”

– Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association

“It is clear from today’s two rulings that the ball has been moved down the field to a point where the pro-gay marriage side is in the red zone. Whether they can be stopped from crossing the goal line depends solely on the prospects of having a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The 38 states needed to pass such an amendment are not the problem—we already have 38 states that have their own laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman—the problem is getting two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate to agree…The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops supports a federal marriage amendment. The Catholic League does as well.”

– Bill Donohue, president, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

“Today’s Supreme Court opinions on marriage are a stunning and indefensible display of judicial activism…Sadly, these twin decisions will undermine the already low respect for the federal courts and the rule of law.  They underscore why people of faith must remain engaged and energetic in seeing genuine conservatives nominated and confirmed to the federal courts.”

– Ralph Reed, chairman, Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman

“As members of the Catholic Church and citizens of the United States, we are elated that the U. S. Supreme Court has both struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for marriage equality in the state of California. We are especially pleased to see that Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, wrote the opinion striking down DOMA, and that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is also a Catholic, concurred in this historic decision.”

-Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations 

“As an organization grounded in the values of secularism and humanism, which recognize the intrinsic value of every person, we are delighted to celebrate these milestones in the struggle for full equality before the law for all citizens. DOMA and Prop 8 were betrayals of the secular ideals set forth in our founding documents, relegating LGBT Americans to second-class status. The Court’s rejection of these measures strongly reinforces the idea that religiously based attitudes on sex and marriage will not stand in the way of granting fundamental rights to anyone.”

– Michael De Dora, Director of Public Policy, Center for Inquiry

“While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the court today did not impose the sweeping nationwide redefinition of natural marriage that was sought. Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify.”

– Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council 

“We are ringing our bells at the Cathedral to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants. Our prayers for continued happiness are with them and with all couples who will be joined in matrimony in the years to come, whether at Washington National Cathedral or elsewhere…Today’s rulings advance civil marriage equality, but they should also serve as a call for Christians to embrace religious marriage equality.”

– Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

– President Barack Obama

“Regardless of the court decision, the Church remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children. Notably, the court decision does not change the definition of marriage in nearly three fourths of the states.”

– The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“I join with millions of Christians across the country in celebrating today’s Supreme Court rulings that extend equal protection under federal law to all marriages and allow marriage equality to resume in California. We are moving ever closer to civil laws that recognize the God-given dignity and equality of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers.”

– Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

“This decision is far-reaching, with massive implications for family life and religious liberty. The grounding of this decision in equal protection and human dignity means this is not simply a procedural matter of federalism. This is a new legal reality. Regardless of what happens with marriage, the gospel doesn’t need ‘family values’ to flourish. In fact, it often thrives when it is in sharp contrast to the cultures around it.”

– Russell D. Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

“We aren’t done, not nearly done. Changing legal architecture provides recourse against acts of discrimination. The Court rightly bolstered the bedrock for equality. What needs to also change are social attitudes. Now it is up to us to shape the social architecture toward justice and to further expand the atmosphere of its reach.”

– Jason Frye, coordinator, LGBTQ Humanist Council

“Society’s mores may shift and crumble but eternal verities exist.  One is marriage, the union of a man and a woman. Its sanctity may have been grievously insulted by the High Court today, but that sanctity remains untouched.”

-Agudath Israel, a national Orthodox Jewish organization

“In response to the decisions announced today by the United States Supreme Court with reference to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8, we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable. At the same time, we note that Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals.”

– Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

“Civil marriage law should be based on principles of fairness, liberty and equality, not religious doctrine. These decisions are important steps toward that goal. Religious Right groups and their allies are fighting a losing battle to impose their theology and moral views about marriage on everyone. The decisions today are two more losses for their discriminatory agenda.”

-Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director, Americans United

“While our community faces many other significant challenges, marriage equality is an issue that affects many transgender people in this country. It’s good for all of us when the government gets out of the business of using gender to decide who gets access to certain benefits. This is a tremendous victory for the entire LGBT community. We urge the state of California to act quickly to allow same-sex couples to marry again.”

– Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center

“The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which we vigorously opposed when it was first considered, has been an offensive and discriminatory measure since its passage in 1996. Since then millions have been denied fundamental rights because of the impact of this ill-advised law. Though that law still stands, today’s ruling in Windsor v. United States promises to lessen some of its most damaging effects. By striking down Article Three of DOMA – a section of the law that the Obama Administration stopped defending several years ago – the Court has enabled legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits, rights and responsibilities as married heterosexual couples.”

– Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

“We at Muslims for Progressive Values are thrilled in the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the definition of marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman. The Quran defines marriage as the union of two souls. We congratulate the Supreme Court for affirming the universal values of justice and equality for all and in its decision to dismiss the appeal of Proposition 8.”

– Ani Zonneveld, President, Muslims for Progressive Values

“While these rulings are positive steps forward, they are only two steps in the  process of establishing equal rights and protections for all. Currently, same sex couples are allowed to legally marry in only a handful of states.  We must continue the efforts to bring full equality for all in each state.”

– Rev. Peter E. Hickman, Presiding Bishop, Ecumenical Catholic Communion

“The Court ignored the votes of a large bipartisan majority of members of Congress. It is absurd for the Court to suggest that Congress does not have the power to define the meaning of words in statutes that Congress itself has enacted…This is a serious loss for federalism and democratic self-government. We must work to reverse it and to defend the rights of all Americans to make marriage policy.”

– Ryan T. Anderson, scholar, Heritage Foundation

“Freedom and equality won today as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the US Constitution and every family. Children in California now know their families will be treated equally. Today, every American is free to live in the assurance that their loved ones will receive all benefits the US gives to any other family. As the head of MCC, a global church founded on the belief that all people are created equal before God and the law, I am thrilled that the Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution applies to all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity.”

– Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches

“NCJW hopes that this decision serves to highlight the uneven rights of LGBT people around the country and will inspire more states to join the growing number of marriage equality states. NCJW, long an advocate for marriage equality, pledges to redouble its efforts to win this important right nationwide.These decisions are a victory not just for the LGBT community but for all who value equality and fairness.”

– Nancy K. Kaufman, CEO, National Council of Jewish Women

“The good news is that Judge Walker’s decision has no precedential value. Marriage advocates now must look for a new way to get back in court to overturn his aggressive decision that marriage is rooted in hatred and bigotry, not  as we understand it: in the love of husband and wife who can be mother and father to their children.”

– Maggie Gallagher, fellow at the American Principles Project

“Efforts to restrict same-sex couples from access to civil marriage are blatant attempts to insert religious beliefs into our secular government. We applaud the Court’s decision on DOMA and Proposition 8, but we recognize there is still a lot of work to be done throughout the country in ensuring that marriage equality is the rule for all.”

– Edwina Rogers, Executive Director, The Secular Coalition for America

“Today the Court wisely stopped the federal government from its practice of discriminating against loving couples on account of politicians’ religious bias. The Religious Right may have fought hard, but the Constitution won.”

– Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director, American Humanist Association

“Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, the debate over marriage has only just begun. The court’s decision does not silence the voices of Americans. Marriage–the union of husband and wife–will remain timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children need mothers and fathers. This has been the experience of diverse cultures and faiths throughout history, including the American experience, and that will not change.  Americans should be able to continue advancing the truth about marriage between a man and a woman and why it matters for children, civil society, and limited government.”

– Austin R. Nimocks, Senior Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

“This is a great day for marriage equality, for all couples, gay or straight, because the Supreme Court has underscored the central point that marriage is ultimately about deep commitment between two people who love one another, not prescribed gender roles. While we still yearn for the day when equal marriage is fully legal, granted and protected in all 50 states, this is a great step toward full freedom and recognition for LGBT people by the U.S. federal government.”

– Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister, United Church of Christ’s Local Church Ministries

“We are devastated that the Supreme Court succumbed to political pressure by voting to weaken the sacred institution. They neglected our most precious children who need a mother and a father united in marriage for healthy development. The African-American community has already been plagued with problems related to children growing up in single parent households. This ruling will only accelerate the further erosion of our communities and society.”

– Rev. William Owens, President of the Coalition of African-American Pastors 

“Scripture teaches us that God shows no partiality. Today our country has moved closer to this vision of equality and unity, and I give thanks for our progress. Now, as always, the ability to create a more just and caring country lies with us. Heartened by today’s decisions, may we recommit ourselves to this difficult but holy work.”

-Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington

“Full recognition of marriage equality—the right to marry the person one loves regardless of gender—is a right whose recognition is long overdue. Today’s decisions are a large, but, unfortunately, incomplete, step in that direction…In the wake of today’s decision, AJC will continue to seek full legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Indeed, we will shortly join in one such brief in Illinois.”

– Marc D. Stern, General Counsel, American Jewish Committee

“In light of today’s Supreme Court opinion, it seems imperative to remind the faithful of the Archdiocese for the Military Services that they must never forget that all, regardless of their sexual inclination, must be treated with the respect worthy of their human dignity. As you know well, the Catholic Faith teaches clearly the biblical principle that all persons, regardless of their sexual inclination, are called to chastity regardless of their state of life..I call on all Catholics and men and women of good will to make their voices heard through the democratic process by upholding marriage in their home states.”

– Rev. Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA

“We have said from the beginning that the proponents of Prop. 8 couldn’t demonstrate a single way they would be harmed by loving same-sex couples marrying in California. Marriage will be restored imminently and we look forward to decisive leadership from our elected officials in reinstating marriage for all people in every community across the state. Today is a day for celebration.”

– John O’Connor, executive director of Equality California 

“My faith says that all persons are beloved by God and created in God’s image. This means that people should be able to marry the person they love. The Supreme Court took a historic step forward today to protect the constitutional rights of many same-sex couples who choose to enter the sacred bonds of marriage.”

– Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, president of Auburn Theological Seminary

“We applaud today’s historic decisions by the Supreme Court to strike down discriminatory laws as a major victory for equal rights for LGBTI people in the United States. We believe that this is one of the necessary steps to ensure that the human rights of people of all sexual orientations are respected everywhere in the world.”

– Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service  

“The Supreme Court has ruled on gay marriage but this highly complex and emotional issue is far from being settled.  The attempt to reshape or redefine marriage will be met with fervent and persistent opposition.  Just as forty years after Roe v. Wade abortion opponents continue to fight for the pro-life agenda, pro traditional marriage supporters will fight on as well.”

– Rick McDaniel,  founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.

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