Congressional Republicans expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) defended the use of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to challenge the Obama administration’s non-defense of the 1996 law.
“Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and President Clinton signed it into law. The House intervened in this case because the constitutionality of a law should be judged by the Court, not by the president unilaterally,” Boehner said in a statement.
“While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances,” he continued. “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) called it “a sad day when the same court that upheld Obamacare decides to reverse course on thousands of years of tradition and a strong bipartisan coalition in Congress by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.”
“This Supreme Court ruling marks a low point in judicial activism where unelected judges turned against traditional marriage which has been a hallmark of American society since our nation’s founding,” Scalise said. “By overturning DOMA, the Supreme Court has commandeered the role of voters and their elected representatives, and turned the definition of marriage over to unelected judges where this will now be litigated in the courts for years to come.”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said “the American people should hold the power to determine marriage policy, not the Supreme Court.”
“It is important to realize that the Supreme Court intentionally chose not to find a constitutional right to marry anyone you choose, whether same-sex, or otherwise. The definition of marriage is not redefined this day. Legally speaking, states are now the sole body responsible for identifying legal marriages,” King continued. “Thirty-eight states to date have chosen to identify only traditional marriage. The attempt to redefine marriage will not change the fact that limited government should be responsible for making this decision, and that marriage marks the sacred union of one man and one woman.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a nearly 500-word statement noting the public emotion and debate surrounding the issue, adding “it’s an issue that I have grappled with as well.”
“In the U.S., marriage has traditionally been defined by state law, and I believe each state, acting through their elected representatives or the ballot, should decide their own definition of marriage. For the purposes of federal law, however, Congress had every right to adopt a uniform definition and I regret that the Supreme Court would interfere with that determination,” Rubio said.
“Rather than having courts redefine marriage for all Americans, my hope is that the American people, through their state legislatures and referendums, can continue to decide the definition of marriage.”
One Democrat looking for Republican support in his re-election campaign, Sen. Mark Begich (R-Alaska), called the rulings “a victory for individual rights and Alaskans who are fed up of government intrusion.”
“I have said all along that I do not support discrimination of any kind and that is why I believe same sex couples should be able to marry and have the same rights, benefits, privileges and responsibilities as any other married couple,” Begich said. “While we still have a long way to go, today, the Supreme Court confirmed that the government needs to step aside, leave the decision to states and churches, and stay out of our private lives and daily business.”