Alabama reactions to Supreme Court declaring same-sex marriage a right

Carlos McKnight holds up a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2015. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 ruling that same-sex couples have a right to marry in the United States.

The AP reports, “Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.” Read more here.

Here are reactions from elected officials and political groups in Alabama. We will be updating this post as they come in:

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne AL-01:

I have always believed that marriage should be defined as the union between one man and one woman. I believe today’s decision threatens what should be exclusive state jurisdiction over matters pertaining to marriage.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer AL-06:

I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in this case and believe it represents the height of Judicial activism.  Two years ago, in U.S. v Windsor, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional because they claimed that it interfered with the right of states to define marriage as each state saw fit.  Now that same Court has summarily invalidated the right of every state, such as Alabama, that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that in a larger sense, neither the Supreme Court nor any government entity can redefine marriage, because the definition of marriage pre-exists government. No one can change the fundamental nature of what marriage is: the union of a man and woman and the formation of family which is the foundation of every civilization.  The Court’s ruling cannot change that. Because of this ruling I have grave concerns about the assault against the religious liberties of the millions of Americans for whom marriage is a religious institution and will always remain one.  Congress should act to ensure that the religious liberties of all Americans are protected so that no one is ever be forced or coerced into violating their conscience.

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell AL-07:

There are moments in American history when the trajectory of our nation shifts. Today, the Supreme Court’s ruling affirmed the basic principle that our Constitution affords all Americans the same equal protections under the law, while also acknowledging our First Amendment right to maintain our own religious beliefs. Marriage licenses are an instrument of the state, and every person should have the rights afforded to all unions sanctioned by the state. This decision positively upholds the equal dignity of all Americans to enter and have the same rights afforded to every union of marriage.

Gov. Robert Bentley (via a statement):

I have always believed in the Biblical definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. That definition has been deeply rooted in our society for thousands of years. Regardless of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, I still believe in a one man and one woman definition of marriage. The people of Alabama also voted to define marriage as between a man and woman. I always respect the people’s vote, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has disregarded the choice made by the people of Alabama in its decision today.

AL Attorney General Luther Strange (via @lyman_brian on Twitter):

Disappointed in same-sex marriage ruling, but “I acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is now the law of the land.”

State Rep. Patricia Todd (Via a tweet shortly after decision announced):

Court rules love wins

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore:

I think it is just the beginning. I think it’s the beginning just like when the court in 1857 declared that black people were property. It had no right to do that and there was a long turmoil there after. There was actually the civil war and there was a constitutional amendment.

Alabama Policy Institute (Via its Facebook page):

Foundational to the Alabama Policy Institute’s mission is the adherence to an originalist understanding of the Constitution, zeal for the “numerous and indefinite” powers reserved to the states, and lastly, a biblical view of matters affecting the family. Today’s ruling trounces on a strict interpretation of the Constitution by creating an entirely new right and by inexplicably taking the matter out of the hands of the people of each state.

This ruling will have far-reaching consequences, particularly for those who maintain sincere religious beliefs on marriage. We call on our state’s delegation in Congress, the Governor of Alabama, and the Alabama Legislature to take proactive steps to ensure that no Alabamian will be forced to relinquish the freedom to live in accordance with their religious convictions on this matter.


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