POLITICS

Same-sex marriage: Emotions run high as politicians react to historic Supreme Court decision

FILE - In this April 28, 2015, file photo, demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court was set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the 36 states in which same-sex couples can now marry are 20 in which federal judges invoked the Constitution to strike down marriage bans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

FILE - In this April 28, 2015, file photo, demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court was set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the 36 states in which same-sex couples can now marry are 20 in which federal judges invoked the Constitution to strike down marriage bans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that states cannot enforce bans on same-sex marriages, functionally allowing gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in all 50 states in the country, and the response by politicians was immediate and passionate – on both sides of the issue.

Sen. Marco Rubio issued a statement about the 5-4 decision that read, “People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.”

He added in a conciliatory tone, “A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was clearly prepared for the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling. She fired off several tweets and changed her Facebook and Twitter profile pictures to a rainbow version of her "H'' campaign logo.

She says in one tweet, "Proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality — and the courage and determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible."

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Proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality—& the courage & determination of LGBT Americans who made it possible. -H

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 26, 2015

President Barack Obama said the ruling represents a day when justice "arrives like a thunderbolt."

The president, in a Rose Garden statement, said the court ruling has "made our union a little more perfect."

It was not until 2012 that Obama announced his own support for gay marriage. Now, he says, the court ruling will end the patchwork of laws on marriage across the country and the uncertainty that they create for same-sex couples.

Immediately after the ruling, Obama tweeted: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins"

There's division among several of the Republican candidates for president about the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has condemned the decision by what he calls "five unelected justices" who make up the ruling's 5-4 majority.

Santorum is a social conservative, and he says the court has redefined "the foundational unit that binds together our society, without public debate or input."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweets that the ruling is "irrational" and "threaten religious liberty" and Congress must act.

Another Republican hopeful, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, also takes issue with the court redefining marriage, as she sees it. But she doesn't dispute the conclusion. She says she's always believed "all Americans should have equal benefits and rights."

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush issued a statement on his website that read, “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.”

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker pointed at a possible path of resistance, writing in a statement, "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."

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) came to a very different conclusion.

"Our nation was founded on the basis of equal rights,” she said in a statement, “and today the Supreme Court’s decision reflected our values. The ability to marry is now a right all Americans have, and we no longer must wonder why one class of people has been singled out under the law … The union of two people in marriage should not be based on gender but on love."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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