Republicans have all sorts of takes on the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Some urged love and respect. Others sort of called for another Revolutionary War. Unlike yesterday’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act—when every Republican basically said the same thing—the court’s decision today highlights just how divided the Republican Party and its top presidential contenders are on the marriage issue.
Republican 2016ers are likely to part ways over support for a constitutional amendment letting individual states decide whether or not to recognize same-sex marriages, which has been introduced in the Senate by presidential hopeful Ted Cruz. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who’s likely to launch a presidential bid next month, endorsed the amendment in his statement on the ruling.
“I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake,” he began. “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.’”
Then he said changing the Constitution is the only way for his side to fight back on the marriage issue.
“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,” he said.
Jeb Bush’s statement was shorter and more reserved.
“Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage,” he said. “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.”
He added that people with opposing views “should be able to live side-by-side,” and said that protecting religious freedom “is now crucial.”
And CNN reported that Bush “does not believe amending the Constitution is the right course.”
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus was more reserved on that point. Rather than invoking Republicans’ typical argument that limiting marriage to heterosexual couples is the bedrock of civilization, he focused on states’ rights and the constitutional balance of power.
“As a Party, we believe in the importance of traditional marriage between a man and a woman and remain committed to finding common ground to champion the family’s role in society,” he continued.
“Today’s ruling cannot and must not be used to coerce a church or religious institution into performing marriages that their faith does not recognize,” he added. “We should respect the sincerely held religious views of our fellow citizens, just as we respect those on the winning side of this case.”
That tone was not universal. At all. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and diehard social conservative, hinted at revolutionary ambitions.
“I will not acquiesce to an imperial Court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” Huckabee said. “We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
And Bobby Jindal expressed concerns that Christians opposed to gay marriage would be forced to participate in it.
“The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies,” his statement said. “That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.”
We’ll update as more takes trickle out.