What people are saying about the Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage

Published June 26, 2013

A sampling of reaction on Wednesday's Supreme Court rulings:

President Barack Obama: "I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. ... This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott: "It impacted federal law, not state law. In 2008, Florida voters amended our constitution and said that we are a traditional marriage state — marriage is between a man and a woman. As the governor of this state, I'll uphold the law of the land, and that's the law of our state. ... Look. I've been married since I was 19. I believe in traditional marriage."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: "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. ... I believe that marriage is a unique historical institution best defined as the union between one man and one woman. ... I do not believe there exists a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Therefore, I am glad the Supreme Court did not create one in the Proposition 8 case. ... My hope is that those of us who believe in the sanctity and uniqueness of traditional marriage will continue to argue for its protection in a way that is respectful to the millions of American sons and daughters who are gay."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.: "The Supreme Court said the Constitution prohibits discrimination of lawfully wedded same-sex couples. I support this decision."

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist: "It's a very good day for marriage equality in America. We should give great credit to the president. When he came out and spoke, I think last May, and said his personal feelings about marriage and that people should be able to make that decision themselves — gay, straight, what have you — that was a watershed day for this issue in our country. It's really set the tone for a dramatic societal shift in our country."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: "The decision will have a positive, meaningful impact for all Americans, and I am proud to have signed an amicus brief in support of overturning the Defense of Marriage Act. Florida leaders should embrace this decision and address the outdated and discriminatory Article I; Section 27 of the Florida Constitution that bars many Florida married couples from equal rights and treatment even after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: "As we celebrate today's news, I am reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made in recent years to advance LGBT equality in this country. More Americans than ever before now agree that, when it comes to marriage, the strength of a couple's devotion is more important than their gender. It is my sincere hope that every state in our great nation will soon come to this same realization."

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: "As we applaud this historic victory for civil rights, we must also remember that the struggle for marriage equality continues. Thousands of couples across this country – including in Florida – remain denied the right to marry. We must continue our efforts to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, receive equal protection under the law."

State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg: "This is a significant day for our nation. My hope is that one day Florida will join those states in recognizing the equality of all people to marry. Today, I challenge Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican leadership in Tallahassee to do justice, walk humbly, and listen to the clarion call for marriage equality as other freedom-loving states have done. This is about the people."

State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa: "I am thrilled that the Court's actions recognize that all Americans are equal and that any adult regardless of whom they love has a right to be married. I hope that the State of Florida will follow by recognizing that families can be defined in many ways. This is a historic step toward equality."

State Rep. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando: "Any legislation that alienates a single class of people because of whom they are or who they love has no place in a country in which its founding promise has always been equality before the law. The past has shown that equality does not always come quickly, and never cheaply; the forces of justice have often fought those of prejudice and misunderstanding, and lost. But today's ruling proves that while it is not always a steady or even march toward basic civil rights for millions of Americans, it is surely an inevitable one."

State Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando: "These rulings ... prove the country is moving everyday toward full marriage equality and basic fairness for LGBT Americans. Meanwhile in Florida, even while opinion polls tell us that people believe gay Floridians should be treated like everyone else, the Florida Legislature has done nothing to create even the most basic protections."

State Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami: "Today's overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act is a sweeping affirmation of same-sex marriage that deserves applause. Today is a day of victory for equality and a day for all of us to rejoice."

State Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee: "The ruling is a victory for Civil Rights. In the spirit of marriage equality and justice, gay and lesbian couples will be given equal protections under the law that opposite-sex marriages have. ... As we celebrate this ruling, we also must continue to move forward to ensure the fight for true equality for all continues on."

Allison Tant, chair of the Florida Democratic Party: "As Democrats, we are committed to full equality for every American. Today, the Supreme Court moved us further toward that goal. All married couples will now enjoy the federal benefits and protections they have been wrongfully denied for years. There is still a long road ahead before we achieve full equality for GLBT Americans, and here in Florida we stand committed to continue this fight."

Bishop Aubrey Shines of Glory to Glory Ministries in Tampa: "Today's Defense of Marriage Act ruling flies in the face of common sense, tradition, reason and morality. The justices that rendered today's decisions may be supreme, but their error prone rulings make it clear that they are human. ... In the matter of marriage and family, the truth is never complicated. The healthy union between one man and one woman is unique and special and the best environment to raise a child."

Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker: "Same-sex spouses will have access to spousal benefits they were once denied, including the financial security afforded by Social Security and equal treatment for those newly eligible to Medicare. Now is the time for swift action by the Administration to put in place new rules to implement the ruling of the Court and break down the barriers to these benefits. Marriage equality brings same-sex couples that much closer to retirement security, and today we are one step closer to realizing the dream of a secure future for our nation's LGBT elders."

Nadine Smith, executive director for the gay rights advocacy group Equality Florida: "For those of us who live in Florida and other states where there's a state constitutional ban, the fight is far from over. In fact, in many ways we've been left behind and left out of this celebration."

John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council: "America, and Florida specifically, will continue the debate and advance the truths about why marriage is between a man and a woman and why it matters for children, civil society, and the common good of society. We will also be able to engage in a debate about the direct harms that same-sex marriage causes to children, to public education, to small businesses, religious liberty and to free speech."