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Florida politicians react to SCOTUS legalizing same-sex marriage


The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states Friday. Here's how Florida politicians reacted to the 5-4 ruling, updated as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate

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.

While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

The next president and all in public office must strive to protect the First Amendment rights of religious institutions and millions of Americans whose faiths hold a traditional view of marriage. This is a constitutional duty, not a political opinion. Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is compelled by law to violate their conscience.

I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, 2016 Republican presidential candidate

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. Bill Nelson, D-Florida

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.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter (also a 2016 U.S. Senate candidate)

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. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando (also a possible 2016 U.S. Senate candidate)

Love has conquered all! The Supreme Court has done the right thing morally and legally in confirming every American’s right to marry whom he or she chooses. This day has been a long time coming, and one that heralds another advance for civil rights in America. I had the honor of serving as the ring-bearer at the first same-sex marriage in Central Florida, and I look forward to celebrating at the weddings of my gay and lesbian friends across the nation.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston (also Democratic National Committee chairwoman)

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.

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Miami

I am pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of marriage equality. This decision illustrates a significant shift towards creating a more accepting and understanding future. This decision is a celebration of freedom and reaffirms the very rights in which our nation was founded.

Earlier this year, I joined over 300 Republican leaders to sign an Amicus brief arguing that the freedom to marry is a conservative value. The government should not impose any definition of marriage on an individual, family, or church. By permitting same-sex marriage, we are finally giving these individuals who have faced years of unfair prejudices the opportunity to experience the same treatment as other American couples.

I applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling, and send my sincerest congratulations to all those who will finally enjoy the same legal rights as their peers.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami

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. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on another landmark case, Loving v. Virginia, that enabled blacks and whites to legally enter into marriage. The world has evolved even more in the ensuing decades, which the court recognized today in its 5 to 4 decision that requires all states to perform same-sex marriages and to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

I am proud to live in an America in which gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people have the freedom and fundamental right to marry the man or woman they have chosen to love.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that equal rights are fundamental to our American values and our nation can now turn the page on a patchwork of discriminatory state laws that have blocked marriage equality. It is a great day for this historic announcement in Tampa Bay as we kick off our annual LGBT Pride Parade, one of the largest in Florida.

It is truly a historic step forward – all loving couples who make a lifetime commitment to each other should be recognized no matter where they live, move or travel to throughout the country.

In my community and throughout my home state of Florida we have fought resolutely for equal rights. It is clear today that those who have opposed marriage equality stand on the wrong side of history and all the hard work in my community, state and throughout the country will not be undone by those in other states standing in the way of progress and equality.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, Republican

We have always sought finality on this important constitutional issue, and today the United States Supreme Court provided the clarity our state and country was seeking. Our country has vigorously debated the issue, with good people on all sides. Many on both sides feel strongly about the issue, having deeply held and sincere beliefs. Legal efforts were not about personal beliefs or opinions, but rather, the rule of law. The United States Supreme Court has the final word on interpreting the Constitution, and the court has spoken.

State Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa 

I applaud the nation’s highest court for recognizing what we, as Democrats, have long struggled for: equality for members of the gay and lesbian communities. The decision today finally strikes down the narrow-minded bias some states have held against same sex couples to love whom they choose and celebrate that love through marriage. From coast-to-coast, it means children of these couples will have the protections afforded heterosexual couples. It means spouses will no longer be shunned from the legal rights of heterosexual unions. It means these couples are entitled to the same dignity as heterosexual ones. And it means the Court has finally affirmed that gays and lesbians are guaranteed the same Constitutional protections as everyone else.

State Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, Florida's first openly gay legislator

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle began the unraveling of Florida’s ban on gay marriage in a ruling that opened the basic civil right of marriage for the gay community. Now, with the ruling of the nation’s highest court, Hinkle’s action is affirmed. Marriage equality is now a fact throughout the country.

The court’s decision is welcomed and overdue. Now that the rights of so many Floridians are fully protected, I urge those of us who direct state policy to embrace this moment and expand beyond legality and open our arms to equality and opportunity. We all need to recognize the environment we can create in Florida as a progressive, accepting place to live and do business. This is our chance to reverse decades of bigotry and perception about our great state.

Florida lags in attracting the nation’s largest corporations despite its business friendly tax structure and obvious amenities for executives and employees alike. That’s been, in part, because of the political climate that has fostered bigotry. Inclusive and progressive policies and attitudes are documented benefits to corporate recruitment efforts – business seeks to recruit from the largest possible pool of the best people and avoids locations that are not welcoming to all.

Today is a great day in American history. I hope we have the wisdom and will in Florida to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. Let’s make this a day when more than the law of the United States changed and seize the initiative to affirm Florida as a welcoming home to all people and all enterprises.

State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa

Finally. After years of struggle, the United States of America recognizes the right of all Americans to marry the person that they love regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Within the last decade, state after state has taken important steps towards marriage equality. In a nation whose founding principles are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, today from Seattle to the Florida Keys our LGBT brothers and sisters can truly enjoy a full measure of liberty.

Let us also remember all of the brave patriots who led the way for universal rights. Our history is full of citizens who stood up for what was right in the face of ignorance and hate. Without those everyday heroes we would not be able to celebrate the triumph of marriage equality today.

The pursuit of a more perfect union is never done. There are still people who through no fault of their own go through life facing fear and discrimination. We must continue to fight for the voiceless, the disenfranchised, and all those who are denied a fair shot. Let today be the start of the next chapter in the march for equality. There is more work to do, and I know that we are up for the challenge.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Republican in non-partisan post

Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan, D-Dania Beach

I walked in the Stonewall parade Saturday in Wilton Manors and there was so much enthusiasm and so much confidence that the Supreme Court would recognize equality for all persons so I know it is happy day in Wilton Manors. It's a good ruling in that churches, house of worship, will be able to make their own decisions but those that are inviting communities will soon come along. It is just a reflection of how change has happened so quickly in this area. Some 10 years ago the majority of people in America were against gay marriage, now a very strong majority are in support.

--with Amy Sherman