Let’s throw some red meat into the arena. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional earlier today. Here are a few responses from our Republican officials without comment:
From Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens:
“Today, the Supreme Court of the United States held 5-4 that Congress violated equal protection when it defined marriage for federal purposes differently from the way the State of New York defined it. I disagree with the Court’s decision. But it is important to understand what the decision does and does not mean.
Today’s decision rests on the basic assumption – with which I strongly agree – that the power to define marriage is a power traditionally reserved to the States. The decision does not affect existing state definitions of marriage; in fact, it explicitly says that it is limited to marriages recognized by states as lawful. I agree with the Chief Justice that this limitation means what it says. The definition of marriage adopted by Georgia’s voters is unaffected by today’s decision.”
From Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA-01):
Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Courts’ ruling today on the Defense of Marriage Act:
“Today’s ruling is a disappointment to those of us who believe in the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman. It is also of great concern to those of us who believe in the traditional role of the court. The more the judicial branch creeps into an activist role, the more it defies the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives and President.
“The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. By overturning it without cause, the Court today stepped beyond the constitutional limits to its power.”
The Defense of Marriage Act (Public Law 104-199) was passed by the U.S. House on July 12, 1996 by a vote of 342-67 and the U.S. Senate on September 10 of that year by a vote of 85-14. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.
From Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA-03):
The Supreme Court issued two controversial rulings today on cases pertaining to gay marriage. InWindsor v. United States, the Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment. The case was brought by Edith Windsor, a New York resident who was legally married in Canada. She filed suit against the federal government when she was forced to pay estate taxes on the inheritance she received from her deceased partner.
“First, I want to reassure you that this has no direct impact on the state of Georgia,” stated Westmoreland. “Our state ban against gay marriage still stands. Unfortunately, the Court’s ruling today is yet another example of judicial activism run amuck. The Defense of Marriage Act was passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. It has been the law of the land since 1996. We need a uniform federal policy regarding marriage across the country and since the vast majority of states do not recognize gay marriage, it only makes sense for the federal government to respect that. The Bible clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman and is a sacred union under God. This ruling is a major blow for the American family and for the sanctity of marriage.”
The Supreme Court also held that the outside group defending California’s Proposition 8, or Prop 8, did not have standing to defend the law. Prop 8 was a ballot initiative passed in California that outlawed same-sex marriage. The law was challenged in court and was struck down. State officials declined to bring an appeal, so proponents of the ballot measure tried to carry the appeal on their own. The Supreme Court ruled this outside group does not have standing to defend the law if the state declines to defend it. By not ruling on the merits of the case, the Court’s decision today effectively reinstates the ban on Prop 8 – allowing same-sex couples to get married in the state of California. Like the Windsor decision, this does not impact Georgia – just California.
“I’m not pleased the Court decided to punt on this issue, but the core problem here is that officials in the State of California have refused to enforce a law that was voted on by the people of California,” stated Westmoreland. “The people of California voted to ban gay marriage, and state officials should enforce the law of the land – the will of the people – even if they don’t personally agree with it. What we have seen in California is liberal elitists who run the state’s government forcing their opinion and their values on the people. It’s disgraceful.”
State Representative Ed Lindsey (R-HD54 — Running for GA-11):
“In a statement today regarding the US Supreme Court decision on the DOMA legislation that my friend Bob Barr passed when he was in Congress years ago and then later repudiated, Bob said “if it (traditional marriage) were on the ballot in Georgia today, I’d vote that way.”
“Bob must have been so busy working for the ACLU that he missed that protecting traditional marriage was on the ballot in Georgia in 2004. In fact, I campaigned to pass that constitutional amendment while running for the State House that year.
“Given Bob’s gymnastic changes in his position on DOMA over the years, we do not know what his position was on traditional marriage in 2004, but I campaigned for it then and I will stay the course for my constituents now.”
Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett:
In response to the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett issued the following statements:
“The Georgia Republican Party is one of inclusion, tolerance, and respect. But we are also a Party of principle and purpose. While disappointed in today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, the Georgia Republican Party will not back down in our efforts to promote, protect, and preserve traditional marriage for future generations.
“Marriage is a sacred institution created by God, not by the federal government, and we wholeheartedly believe that it is worth fighting for!”