South Florida politicians react swiftly to Supreme Court on same-sex marriage

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Washington, DC, June 26, 2015 | comments

Sun Sentinel

By Anthony Man

Florida political figures reacted swiftly to the U.S. Supreme Court opinion making same-sex marriage the law of the land.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is now a Democrat, became the first major Florida politician to react, shortly after the opinion was issued. "Love is love. Equal rights for all. #MarriageEquality #LoveWins," he wrote on Twitter.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, hailed the ruling:

"I enthusiastically applaud the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Obergefell v.Hodges. This decision, and what it means for the LGBT community, has been a long-time coming and is the result of decades of struggle and perseverance.

"Now, same-sex couples throughout the country will be guaranteed the recognition and legal protections they so fully deserve. No longer will their families be viewed as lesser in the eyes of the law.

"Last week I had the privilege of officiating a same-sex wedding right across the street from the Supreme Court building. It was clear that the love between Alex and Robert is no different than the love I share with my husband Steve. Love is love, and love is now the law.

"Today is a day of celebration, and as we move forward from this important victory, Democrats will continue fighting to ensure that nobody in this country faces discrimination because of who they are or whom they love."

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said he does not believe in same-sex marriage. But, with an eye on what he hopes will be a general election campaign for president with an electorate that increasingly supports same-sex marriage, he said those who make lifelong commitments should be respected.

"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."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., another candidate for his party's presidential nomination, issued a much more strongly worded statement than Bush.

"Court decision short circuits political process," the headline of Rubio's statement read. "Focus now must be on nominating judges and justices that uphold the Constitution as originally written."

More from Rubio:

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman. 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."

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami-Dade County Republican, disagreed with her party's presidential candidates and said she supports the Supreme Court's action.

"Our nation was founded on the basis of equal rights 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. Simply put, and the majority of Americans would agree, the union of two people in marriage should not be based on gender, but on love."

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat who represents northwest Broward and southwest Palm Beach County, posted this statement on his website:

"As a Vice Chair for the House Equality Caucus, but more importantly as a husband, as a father, and as an American, I am overjoyed by today's Supreme Court decision in which recognizes the freedom of all Americans to marry and have that marriage recognized by all 50 states. Today will be remembered as a historic leap forward in our nation's ongoing march for the equality and justice for all Americans.

"I am so proud to know that today's children and future generations of Americans will grow up in a country that recognizes the dignity and equality of every family, and the right of all Americans – regardless of their race or sexual orientation or gender identity – to marry the person they love, wherever they live.

"As we celebrate today's historic victory, we must recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight for equality under the law for LGBT Americans, who all too often face harsh discrimination in their daily lives. I hope this decision gives Congress new momentum to pass comprehensive civil rights legislation that will protect our LGBT friends, family members, and colleagues from discrimination at work, in school, and in our communities."

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties:

"Today's Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is a momentous step forward in the fight for equality. I join the entire LGBT community, along with their friends and family, in celebrating this historic day. For far too long, same-sex couples have been forced to suffer discrimination and prejudice simply because of who they love. The Court's decision confirms what the majority of Americans already believe to be true – that same-sex couples deserve the same access to the security and dignity that come along with the institution of marriage.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that that our laws protect the rights of all of our citizens, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. While today's decision is indeed a significant victory, we must ensure that our nation as a whole will continue to work to implement comprehensive non-discrimination protections that recognize the equal rights of all Americans at the federal, state, and local levels of government."

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who represents northern Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties and is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, issued this statement:

"This is a historic day in our nation's history. For too long, same-sex couples have been discriminated against because of who they are and who they love. Today, that ends. We are a nation that prides itself on the diversity of our citizens, and I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to give same-sex couples equal marriage rights under the law once and for all."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., issued a brief statement:

"Today's ruling reaffirms one of the paramount principles of America that we're all created equal and have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."

More reactions from South Florida politicians via Twitter:

Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C.Holness (Democrat): "Equality for all... #EqualMarriage #EqualityForAll #SupremeCourtisonaroll #Let'shearitforAmerica."

State Sen. Maria Sachs, Democrat who represents Broward and Palm Beach counties: "Finally a confirmation from @Scotus that you are free to marry whom you love. Welcome to the age of #equality."

Deutch, before issuing his full statement: "Overcoming injustice. Celebrating equality. Historic day. #AllLoveIsEqual #LoveCantWait #EqualMarriage #SCOTUS."

Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter (Democrat): "The past 2 days have seen numerous conservatives heads explode in the USA #marriageequaility #Obamacare."

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat who represents part of South Broward and Miami-Dade County: "I applaud @Scotus for recognizing marriage is a right for all. #LoveWins."

Fromer Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger (Democrat): "This is a wonderful day for all Americans with the SCOTUS decision. #LOVE IS LOVE.#3Egual protection for all, Amendment 14!"

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park: "LOVE will WIN EVERY TIME!!"

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a Florida Panhandle resident running for president, denounced the Supreme Court opinion:

"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."

Ben Carson of West Palm Beach, the fourth Florida presidential candidate, disagreed, but was softer in his statement than Huckabee:

"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."

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