With the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex "marriage" nationwide by judicial decree, the Republican presidential hopefuls have weighed in – with comments calling for everything from an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defending marriage to an acceptance of the decision and an implementation of gay civil unions. Here are the candidates in their own words: Jeb Bush. "Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate." Marco Rubio. "While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood," he said. "The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion." Scott Walker. "I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges 'has been with us for millennia.'" "As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage." Mike Huckabee. "The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. "This ruling is not about marriage equality, it's about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court's most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny." "The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment." Rick Perry. "I am disappointed the Supreme Court today chose to change the centuries old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I'm a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written." Rick Santorum. "Today, five unelected justices decided to redefine the foundational unit that binds together our society without public debate or input. Now is the people's opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record. The stakes are too high and the issue too important to simply cede the will of the people to five unaccountable justices. "But leaders don't accept bad decisions that they believe harm the country, they have the courage of their convictions and lead the country down the better path. Marriage, the family and our children are too central to a healthy society to not fight for what is best. I realized that fact early on and that is why I lead the charge against some in my own party in 2004 to ensure the Federal Marriage Amendment received a vote and I continue to stand for marriage, for families, for freedom. "As President, I will be committed to using the bully pulpit of the White House to lead a national discussion on the importance to our economy and our culture of mothers and fathers entering into healthy marriages so that every child is given their birthright- to be raised by their mother and father in a stable, loving home. I will stand for the preservation of religious liberty and conscience, to believe what you are called to believe free from persecution. And I will ensure that the people will have a voice in decisions that impact the rock upon which our civilization is built." Bobby Jindal. "The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states' rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that. This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty. The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America's long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment. I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in D.C. join me." Lindsey Graham. "I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws," he said. "I will respect the Court's decision." "Given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the Congress...While we all have differences, it is time for us to move forward together respectfully and as one people." Carly Fiorina "I do not agree that the Court can or should redefine marriage. I believe that responsibility should have remained with states and voters where this conversation has continued in churches, town halls and living rooms around the country. Moving forward, however, all of our effort should be focused on protecting the religious liberties and freedom of conscience for those Americans that profoundly disagree with today's decision." Dr. Ben Carson. "While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision, their ruling is now the law of the land. I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected. The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs. I support same sex civil unions but to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form." As of this writing, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, George Pataki, and Donald Trump have not made statements on the ruling.
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