Virginia reaction to same-sex marriage ruling
Finally the law of the land reflects the beliefs and values held by the American people. Thousands of dedicated and passionate people fought for decades to ensure that loving lesbian and gay couples have the freedom to marry the person they love, many of whom are no longer here to see the fruits of their labor. America will celebrate this day for a long time to come – the second anniversary of the United States v. Windsor, the twelfth anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, and now in 2015, the day it was decided that we all have the freedom to marry the person we love in any state we call home.
With this decision, we no longer have two Americas when it comes to relationship recognition. But, our work is far from over. I sincerely hope that this historic step toward equality will increase the momentum and support in Virginia and other states for ending discrimination against gay and transgender people in employment, housing, and public accommodations. We cannot stop until the day comes when nobody faces discrimination and when all people are accepted - and celebrated - for everything they are.
America is finally on the right side of history when it comes to marriage. Love won. Let's use this love to build true and lasting equality for all.
SENATOR TIM KAINE
By recognizing the constitutional right of all people to marry the person they love, the Supreme Court has guaranteed that, across the country, same-sex couples will have their relationships treated with the full legal dignity and respect that they deserve. With our country's fundamental ideal that 'all men are created equal' in mind, I welcome the end of discriminatory bans that have, until today, denied same-sex couples the privileges, responsibilities, and joys of marriage. This is an important step on our continuing quest to create a more perfect union.
ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING
#SCOTUS ruling secures rights of more than 2,000 loving couples in VA like Carol & Mary
SENATOR MARK WARNER
This is a remarkable day for our nation. This decision ends the debate about whether states can deny the licensing or recognition of same-sex marriages and ensures that all loving couples will now be treated equally under the law. Respecting every American's constitutional right to marry strengthens our families and our communities.
While we celebrate this historic milestone, we must continue to work to guarantee the fundamental rights and equal protections of all Americans.
CONGRESSMAN BOBBY SCOTT
Today's decision should not be a surprise. When the Court declined to grant cert in Bostic v. Rainey, which overturned Virginia's same-sex marriage ban, it became clear that the Supreme Court was following a long history of consistent jurisprudence on marriage, beginning with its 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia. The Loving Court unanimously stated marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man.' And today's decision ensures that this basic right is now available to all same-sex couples no matter where they reside in our nation.SENATOR McEACHIN
I am so pleased to see the Supreme Court take this step. Just like in Loving v. Virginia, the court has spoken and has said that the law cannot define a family, the law cannot and should not tell us who we can love. As it should, this barrier has fallen.
But more battles and hurdles remain. Right here in Virginia we need to codify non-discrimination in employment, we need to make sure gay and transgender individuals are not subject to discrimination in housing and we need to ensure every Virginian has equal opportunity, justice and fairness.
I promise to be on the frontline of those battles, making certain that the laws of Virginia protect all, rather than excluding and denigrating some Virginians. Let us celebrate this great victory and challenge all Virginians to join with us to tear down remaining barriers to equality.
DELEGATE MARCUS B. SIMONI am excited to continue working on re-writing Virginia's Code to reflect the reality of marriage equality as the law of the land. I was pleased to read reports that Speaker of the House William J. Howell has dropped his opposition to these efforts, and look forward to continuing this work as a bi-partisan effort. That said, I still expect that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle may be tempted to look for ways to resist and undermine the decision; I think that would be a huge mistake for Virginia's image and economy. Most likely the new battle lines will form around social issues of discrimination in public accommodations and housing. That is why I've introduced a bill to add sexual orientation to our fair housing statute every year I've been a member of the House of Delegates. It is time for the General Assembly to recognize that all Virginians are entitled to equal protection under the laws of the Commonwealth, regardless of who they love or choose to marry.
RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL
Today we celebrates the United States Supreme Court's ruling regarding marriage freedom, which coincides with Richmond City Council's recent Proclamation recognizing June 2015 as Richmond Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer Pride Month. Progress on this issue reflects Richmond City Council's ongoing support of civil rights, equality and freedom from discrimination.
To quote Julian Bond, Former National Chairman of the NAACP, who has previously spoken on the issue of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer rights, “Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives — the right to equal treatment before the law. These are rights shared by everyone; there is no one in the United States who does not — or should not — share in enjoying these rights.”
A portion of the Richmond City Council proclamation reads “… The Richmond community includes people of all ages and races who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer and each of us should have the same equal rights, benefits and responsibilities that are shared and enjoyed by all…” Today's decision reflects this fundamental tenet.
The historic United States Supreme Court's ruling today means that same-sex couples will soon have the freedom to marry under the law in across our nation. We join with Richmond residents and families in celebrating the significance of this important decision.
Today's Supreme Court ruling settles once and for all that love is love. Virginians can rest assured that marriage equality is now a permanent fixture in the commonwealth. Unfortunately, LGBTQ Virginians are still not protected from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in many other instances. It's time for the General Assembly to end Virginia's tacit endorsement of discrimination and act on legislation to fully protect our LBGTQ friends and neighbors.
Virginia Organizing rejoices today with same-sex couples who will finally have the same rights to marriage as heterosexual couples. Virginia Organizing firmly believes that no person should be discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity. Today's decision by the highest court in our nation shows that the United States will no longer support this form of discrimination. Congratulations to all the couples waiting for this decision and celebrating today!
Thanks to the hard work of our Governor, Attorney General, and Democratic legislators at all levels, Virginia has been ahead of the curve as a place for all lovers. I'm proud we've set an example for other states to follow, and even prouder that the Supreme Court has truly and finally legitimized our success.
Virginians have never been afraid to fight for what's right, from the Loving case decades ago to our brave same-sex marriage plaintiffs today. Our work towards equality for all Virginians is not yet done, and we celebrate today with an eye towards making a better tomorrow.
ACLU OF VIRGINIA
The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that lesbian and gay couples are entitled to equal marriage rights under the U.S. Constitution. The court's action means that lesbian and gay couples across America will now enjoy the same freedom to marry that Virginia couples have enjoyed since October 2014, following a successful lawsuit in which the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Virginia, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Jenner & Block represented a certified class made up of approximately 14,000 same-sex couples in the Commonwealth who sought to get married or have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Virginia.
“Just as it did 48 years ago when it found Virginia's laws prohibiting interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, today the U.S. Supreme Court reminded America that laws denying equal marriage rights have no place in the Commonwealth or any other state,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia. “Today the Court affirmed that marriage is a fundamental right of all Americans.”
While lesbian and gay couples across America can now marry the person they love, Virginia law still lacks protections to ensure that LGBT Virginians cannot be fired or denied housing because of who they are. In addition, Virginia law permits genetic counselors and state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to deny services to LGBT Virginians and requires public colleges and universities to recognize and fund student political and religious organizations even if the organizations intentionally discriminate in their membership or leadership in furtherance of their religious or political mission.
“This is a bittersweet moment at the ACLU of Virginia. While securing the freedom to marry is a crucial step toward equality after many years of discrimination, we will not rest until all Virginians are accorded equal rights and equal dignity,” continued Gastañaga. “We celebrate this historic decision, but we do so with our eyes wide open about how far we still have to go.”
HOUSE SPEAKER WILLIAM J. HOWELL
I have been a longtime supporter of traditional marriage and am naturally disappointed by today's Supreme Court ruling. However, our nation is governed by the rule of law and we must respect the authority of the Court.
Moving forward, it is paramount that the religious liberties of all Virginians be respected. While we must and will abide by the law, we must also ensure that the God-given and Constitutionally-guaranteed right to the free exercise of religion is not diminished in light of this ruling. The House of Delegates will fight to uphold this principle.
While many are understandably disappointed, I expect Virginia will fully comply with today's ruling. While no immediate action is necessary, Senate Majority Leader Norment and I are sending today a letter to the Virginia Code Commission asking to evaluate what, if any, future changes will be necessary to bring the Code of Virginia into compliance with the Court's ruling.
The Family Foundation today expressed disappointment regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to impose same-sex unions on the entire nation.
“Marriage expresses the reality that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad,” said Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “Today, the Supreme Court stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address one of the most important social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The Court took that freedom from the people.
Cobb continued, “Our biggest concern beside the impact intentionally denying children a mom or dad will have, is the open season the court has created for discrimination against anyone who believes having both mom and dad is important. We see the heavy hand of government coercing businesses into participating in same-sex unions, and you have to be very naive to think that religious non-profits, churches and pastors are not going to be targeted as well, something even the Obama administration admitted during oral arguments. Now that same-sex unions have been forced on our country, will there be tolerance for those whose faith teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman?
“Every child deserves the best chance we can give them to be raised by a married mom and dad, but today's decision by the Supreme Court puts the governments stamp of approval on intentionally depriving children of either a mom or dad.”
Virginians adopted the marriage amendment in 2006 with 57 percent of voters supporting the natural definition of marriage. "
VIRGINIA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires states to issue marriage licenses to two persons of the same sex, and requires a state to recognize as marriage the union of two people of the same sex when it was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. We are deeply distressed by this decision which fails to uphold marriage as the union which unites one man and one woman. This fundamental institution, grounded in natural law, predates any religion or nation.
All persons have inviolable dignity and deserve love and respect. Unjust discrimination is always wrong. However, our commitment to marriage is a matter of justice and fidelity to our Creator's original design. Marriage is the only institution uniting one man and one woman with each other and with any child who comes from their union. Redefining marriage furthers no one's rights, least of all those of children.
Gregory T. Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director
Today, the Supreme Court of the United States finally recognized what Log Cabin Republicans has long advocated for: the constitutional right of committed same-sex couples to engage in civil marriage partnerships. At hand lies a tremendous opportunity for healing on all sides: Log Cabin Republicans encourages marriage equality advocates to resist the temptation of being 'sore winners' and respecting others who may not yet be at a place of acceptance; and opponents of marriage equality who can light a way out of the LGBT culture wars by recognizing that civil marriage for committed same-sex couples is no threat to any straight couple's marriage, family, or faith. This is a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement—one that had its genesis on the center-right—and Log Cabin Republicans congratulates our allied organizations, grassroots Chapter Leaders, and—especially—those committed same-sex couples who moved national sentiment on marriage equality so far, so fast simply by living their lives in quiet dignity.
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE
The Supreme Court failed to recognize the states' constitutional role in setting marriage policy, instead finding a federal role where there is none. In doing so, they have taken power away from the states and from the people to settle the relevant issues for themselves.
Even though the Supreme Court has spoken with finality, there remains a diversity of opinions about marriage policy—from those celebrating today's ruling to those concerned about 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. Marriage is critically important to strengthening our country and our communities. Likewise, we will remain champions of religious liberty. 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. We should respect the sincerely held religious views of our fellow citizens, just as we respect those on the winning side of this case.
MIKE FARRIS, HEAD OF THE CONVENTION OF STATES PROJECT
The Court's decision in the marriage case directly overrides the popular vote of 32 states which put traditional marriage provisions into their state constitutions and laws. Five justices have imposed their will on millions of voters.
Why do we do this? Why do we allow unelected judges to make political decisions—including many of the most important decisions of our era? Abortion and now same-sex marriage have both ripped our country apart. On both of these issues, if it had not been for Supreme Court intervention, the law would vary from state to state as the people of the state desired.
If we want to preserve American self-government, we must impose additional restrictions on the power of the Supreme Court. Checks and balances need to be real, not merely theoretical.
The only way these kind of changes can be made is through an Article V Convention of States. The Founders told us that there would come a day when the federal government would abuse its power. When that day arose, the States needed the ability to rein in the abuse of federal power by constitutional means.
That day is upon us.