Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well…

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

“We, as a class, are entitled to this,” [Barney] Frank said. “It is very, very important, both specifically for a lot of hard working people who pay their taxes to now get full benefits, and it’s one more step towards doing what I think is the most important Constitutional mandate we have.”…

“Our Constitution set forth a number of very important, very radical principles for the time, but it excluded a lot of people from the benefit of those rights,” Frank said.

“We’ve had a series of efforts in our country to make sure the people who were originally excluded are included in all those wonderful phrases of the Declaration of Independence and the binding clauses of the Constitution, and for those of us gay and lesbian, it’s a major step towards getting there.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act as opening the door to a federal right to same-sex marriage.

“As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe,” Scalia said on Wednesday…

“I promise you this: The only thing that will ‘confine’ the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with,” Scalia wrote in a stinging dissent.

The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The Department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible. That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do…

The Supreme Court’s ruling means that the Defense Department will extend all benefits to same-sex spouses of military personnel that are currently extended to opposite-sex spouses, including medical, dental, interment at Arlington National Cemetery, and with-dependent Basic Allowance for Housing. The Department will implement these benefit changes as soon as possible for same-sex spouses.

The US supreme court’s decision on California’s Proposition 8 clears the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the most populous state in the nation, sending a resounding message to the rest of America while leaving the constitutional underpinning of gay marriage still in the balance.

Within hours of the ruling, Jerry Brown, the governor of California, said he had directed county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts a temporary ban, in place since Prop 8 passed in 2008…

Boies said that point was critical. “While the decision today technically just affects California, the principles the court articulated mean we will have marriage equality in all 50 states. It’s just a question of time now.”

By Aug. 1, same-sex marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington — all states where it was not legal one year earlier.

There are about 59 million people living in these seven states, which means that the availability of same-sex marriage in the United States as a percentage of population will have more than doubled within the year. As of early last year, same-sex marriage was legal only in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia, which have 35 million people among them.

The availability of same-sex marriage is increasing almost as rapidly on a global scale.

As the news of the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality broke Wednesday morning, House Republicans were just ending their weekly conference meeting. Rep. Justin Amash, libertarian Republican from Michigan who believes government should not be involved in anyone’s marriage, stood up to urge fellow members to not sound hateful when discussing the rulings.

“Marriage is a private institution that government should not define. To me and millions of Americans, marriage is also a religious sacrament that needs no government approval,” Amash wrote on Facebook. “As a conservative, I will continue to push for less government interference in our personal and economic affairs.”…

“For all practical purposes, the combined rulings just about spell the sunset for the issue of marriage in national Republican politics,” said John Ullyot, a Republican strategist and former longtime Senate aide who had signed onto an amicus brief in the Prop 8 case. “Bottom line: in less than a decade, opposition to gay marriage has transformed from a marginal political winner for Republicans (see Ohio 2004) to a liability with swing voters in a decreasing number of competitive states.”

The national party’s wariness of resuming the culture clash over gay marriage was apparent in the reaction to Wednesday’s landmark rulings. Republican candidates eying marquee Senate and House races mainly greeted the twin Supreme Court rulings with silence. As much of the country warms to same-sex marriage, there was little appetite to engage on the issue

“Decent people have very different opinions on the issue, whether it’s generational or because of their geographic or religious background,” said spokesman Brad Dayspring. “In light of the statewide focus post-Supreme Court decision, the key for elected officials is whether those opinions are in line with the men and women in their home states.”

“We will focus on the issues that matter most to middle-class families and workers,” he added, “and right now that generally means growing the economy, creating real jobs, making sure that our kids have a fair shot to earn success, and making sure that people have access to quality, affordable health care without having their lives turned upside down by Obamacare.”

The Supreme Court’s rulings in favor of same-sex marriage Wednesday were greeted with excitement by polygamists across the country, who viewed the gay rights victory as a crucial step toward the country’s inevitable acceptance of plural marriage.

Anne Wilde, a vocal advocate for polygamist rights who practiced the lifestyle herself until her husband died in 2003, praised the court’s decision as a sign that society’s stringent attachment to traditional “family values” is evolving.

“I was very glad… The nuclear family, with a dad and a mom and two or three kids, is not the majority anymore,” said Wilde. “Now it’s grandparents taking care of kids, single parents, gay parents. I think people are more and more understanding that as consenting adults, we should be able to raise a family however we choose.”…

“I’m not a fortune-teller, but it seems like if more people are accepting of gay marriage, it would follow that polygamist marriage wouldn’t be criticized quite so much.”

Big government is a symptom of apathetic people. If big government is needed to define marriage then the people who make up the church, and I say this as one of them, have not done their best to God to live and evangelize their faith. Where we fail government intercedes.

I view today’s ruling as a narrow second chance. The government has, for now, refrained from issuing a blanket statement against the institution of marriage, reverting instead to state jurisdiction. The bottom line is that today’s ruling was once again a failure of Democrats’s big government. Democrats campaigned on DOMA, championed it, Clinton signed it. The party who filibustered the Civil Rights Act will say they “evolved,” which is code for “waffle.” If after today Democrats want to finally agree with conservatives that big government is bad, I’m sure we’d accept their admission of error.

Unless something dramatic changes in the drift of public opinion, the future of religious liberty on these issues is going to depend in part on the magnanimity of gay marriage supporters — the extent to which they are content with political, legal and cultural victories that leave the traditional view of marriage as a minority perspective with some modest purchase in civil society, versus the extent to which they decide to use every possible lever to make traditionalism as radioactive in the America of 2025 as white supremacism or anti-Semitism are today. And I can imagine a scenario in which a more drawn-out and federalist march to “marriage equality in 50 states,” with a large number of (mostly southern) states hewing to the older definition for much longer than the five years that gay marriage advocates currently anticipate, ends up encouraging a more scorched-earth approach to this battle, with less tolerance for the shrinking population of holdouts, and a more punitive, “they’re getting what they deserve” attitude toward traditionalist religious bodies in particular. If religious conservatives are, in effect, negotiating the terms of their surrender, it’s at least possible that those negotiations would go better if they were conducted right now, in the wake of a Roe v. Wade-style Supreme Court ruling, rather than in a future where the bloc of Americans opposed to gay marriage has shrunk from the current 44 percent to 30 percent or 25 percent, and the incentives for liberals to be magnanimous in victory have shrunk apace as well.

Via Mediaite.

And finally, Gutfeld made his bold assertion that the day’s news was “a huge conservative victory, because you can no longer deprive someone of an extremely traditional value that makes your life better by curtailing promiscuity and destructive lifestyles.” Opening up a bit about his personal life, Gutfeld added, “Marriage to my wife made me a better man. As a right-winger, I want to impose that belief on others because that’s what right-wingers do.”