Voices from around the nation on same-sex marriage

Boyd Beckwith holds his marriage license with his soon-to-be spouse Jerry Hill during a mass wedding ceremony in Atlanta on Friday.

Boyd Beckwith holds his marriage license with his soon-to-be spouse Jerry Hill during a mass wedding ceremony in Atlanta on Friday.

(Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

The nation had been expecting the Supreme Court to issue its ruling on same-sex marriage and the reaction was swift on Friday. Within moments, leaders, activists and regular citizens spoke out on the court decision that expands same-sex marriage to all 50 states.

Petrina Bloodworth and Emma Foulkes, believed to be the first couple to marry in Atlanta after the ruling: “We thought about getting married when we were on vacation and we almost did,” Bloodworth said. “I am so glad we waited and are now able to get married where we live. It makes our marriage so legitimate. Now everything about our relationship is legitimate in the eyes of the country.

“We are focused on love and family,” she said. “We’re on top of the world.”

Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project: “We are overjoyed. We had no prospect of overturning the ban through the Legislature and ballot measures. So this was the only way it was going to happen anytime soon. This is a wonderful victory for our state.”


Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Assn. in Tupelo, Miss.: ”There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling.”

Bleu Copas of Knoxville, Tenn., who says he was discharged from the Army in 2006 because he is gay and plans to marry boyfriend Ricky Shaw on July 4: “When the opportunity came up to do it on the Fourth, it seemed to make sense. I’m an Army veteran, so days like that already have a strong significance for me. But to be honest, in this moment, I feel more American than I’ve ever felt. Oh, my God, I’m elated.”

Mississippi Atty. Gen. Jim Hood: “The Supreme Court’s decision is not immediately effective in Mississippi. It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order. This could come quickly or may take several days. The 5th Circuit might also choose not to lift the stay and instead issue an order, which could take considerably longer before it becomes effective.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, the first openly gay married mayor of a major American city: “Today I am able to say to Americans what I said to Washingtonians the day we signed our marriage equality bill: Welcome to the other side of the rainbow. America is a place where you can dream dreams that really do come true.”

Louisiana Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell: “This Supreme Court decision overturns the will of the people of Louisiana, and it takes away a right that should have been left to the states. Louisiana voters decided overwhelmingly to place in our constitution an amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. I fought to uphold Louisiana’s definition of traditional marriage, and I was the first attorney general in the nation to be successful at the federal court level.”

Kristin and Jennifer Seaton-Rambo, who were married last year in Arkansas: “Our family will have protection now,” Kristin said. “I think the same-sex marriage movement is continuing and will continue to spread,” Jennifer said. “I feel it will eliminate the cycle of hate by accepting one another throughout the world.”

U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who represents 24 counties in west-central Missouri: “Five unelected lawyers in black robes have overridden the voice of the people and I believe it’s wrong. I’m going to continue to champion the wisdom of having marriage be between a man and woman, because I believe every child deserves to have a mom and dad. When we have strong families we have strong communities and a strong nation.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo: “New York has been a leader in the fight for marriage equality, and today’s Supreme Court decision affirms what we have fought so hard for — that marriage is a fundamental right that should be afforded to everyone, regardless of whom they love.”

Cuomo said he had directed that the lights on One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spiral, which stands on the site of the fallen World Trade Center towers, to be lit in rainbow colors on Sunday night. “Today,” he said, “progress marches on.”

Elmore County, Ala., Probate Judge John Enslen, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage: “A federal court can sentence me to life in prison, and I will still never perform a so-called same-sex marriage,” Elmore said in a video posted by the Montgomery Advertiser earlier this year. Enslen, who reiterated his feelings last month, added in the video: “I hear people saying that I need to be on the right side of history. My reply to that is this: In the end, God is always on the right side of history.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: “Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage. I will continue to defend the religious liberties of all Texans — including those whose conscience dictates that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman.”

Mark Phariss of Dallas, one of the lead plaintiffs in the same-sex marriage lawsuit filed in Texas, and his partner of nearly 18 years, Victor Holmes: “Once we started reading, we realized we had won,” said Phariss, a corporate lawyer. “We both started crying. My hands are still shaking.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton in New York: “As a nation, we must carry the momentum from the highest court in the land and fight against discrimination in all its forms and make sure that all Americans – no matter whom they love, their class or color — can exist freely and equally.”

Pennington County, S.D., registrar of deeds Donna Mayer: “We can’t do anything until we have a directive from the [South Dakota] State Department. We’re just waiting until we get instructions.”

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