NC reactions to gay marriage ruling
Posted June 26, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages. Following are some reactions from people across North Carolina:
"Like many North Carolinians, I still believe the definition of marriage should be determined by the states, and it should be the union between one man and one woman. However, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, which compels me as governor to ensure that North Carolina upholds the rule of law."
— Gov. Pat McCrory
"The power grab by a majority of the Supreme Court is a full-on assault on the founding principles of democratic process, federalism, separation of powers, the voice of the people and judicial restraint. Under these decisions, the rights and responsibilities of the states and the people are gone, and the precedent is set that non-elected judges can play super-legislator on whatever issue they want, however they want and whenever they want. When our elected officials step over the line, we the people can vote them out of office. When unelected judges step over the line, we are without recourse. No longer does it matter what the citizen-elected legislature says. It matters not what the citizen-elected executives say. All that matters is what a majority of nine people in a courtroom says."
— Lt. Gov. Dan Forest
"This is a dark day for our nation, but it is not the end of the story. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared war on marriage, children and religious freedom in the United States, and rather than repair a rift, this opinion is going to ignite a fire across our land. The Supreme Court did not change the true and fundamental definition of 'life' in Roe v. Wade, and it will not change the true and fundamental definition of 'marriage' in Obergefell v. Hodges. 'Truth' remains 'Truth,' regardless of another misguided opinion that has been handed down by this court."
— John Rustin, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council
"Even as we celebrate, we know our fight for equality doesn't end at the Supreme Court. There is still so much to be done to keep our entire LGBT community safe and respected in the state we call home. And we're proud to be fighting alongside you in the many battles left to be won in North Carolina.
"But love won today in America, like we always knew it would."
— Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC
"The true definition of marriage cannot be redefined by courts. It remains the permanent union of one man and one woman, oriented to the procreation and raising of children. The Catholic Church, along with many other Christian and religious traditions, will continue our work with regard to this true definition of marriage and to strengthen the moral basis for all such relationships. As Catholics, we are called to never compromise the beliefs that we treasure and celebrate, while always respecting and loving one another other as God’s sons and daughters.
"It is important to note that the majority opinion of the Supreme Court acknowledged that people of faith may continue to advocate, with the utmost sincerity and conviction, that by Divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. Furthermore, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that the First Amendment of the Constitution ensures that the Church is to be given proper protection as it seeks to teach tenets about the family structure which have long been revered.
"As the impact of today’s Supreme Court decision will continue to be discussed and debated, we are also reminded that, as members of God’s holy family, we are to treat and engage one another in mutual and lasting respect."
— Bishop Michael Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
"We celebrate today’s Supreme Court ruling with our gay brothers and sisters who wish to marry and have their marriages recognized nationwide, with denominations and congregations that have authorized and now are affirmed in continuing to perform same-gender marriages, and with the clergy who have sought to officiate these weddings as a matter of faith.
"At the same time, we recognize that this continues to be a difficult and complex issue for many people of faith. So, we would reiterate that this ruling does not force people to change their personal beliefs, and the decision about performing marriage ceremonies, whether for straight or gay couples, remains at the discretion of clergy, congregations and denominations.
"When the N.C. Council of Churches spoke on issues of homosexuality in 1992, it was to oppose “violence, harassment and discrimination because of sexual orientation.” When our Board voted in 2004 to formally oppose constitutional bans on same-gender marriage, it was out of the conviction that foundational documents should not be used to “enshrine” discrimination. More than a decade later, we look forward to a time when this issue loses its divisive edge and becomes a place defined by grace, respect, and love."
— Rev. George Reed, executive director of the North Carolina Council of Churches
"With all due respect to the court, it did not define marriage and, therefore, is not entitled to re-define it. I pray God will spare America from His judgment, though, by our actions as a nation, we give Him less and less reason to do so."
— Franklin Graham, president and chief executive of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan's Purse
"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court will no more settle the issue of gay marriage than Roe v. Wade settled the issue of abortion. Forty years later, the majority of Americans are more pro-life than ever, and I believe that history will prove the arrogance of this Supreme Court's new illusory definition for marriage.
"Millions of Americans believe that marriage is the sacred union of one man and one woman, and it is an improper abuse of power for the Supreme Court to attempt to re-define an institution that it did not invent. This landmark decision will bring peril to family structure and stability and will threaten the religious liberties upon which our country was founded.
"We must guaranty that North Carolinians whose religious beliefs are violated by this decision will have the continuing freedom to act on their beliefs."
— Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition
“The Supreme Court today welcomed same-sex couples fully into the American family. Gay and lesbian couples and our families may be at peace knowing that our simple request to be treated like everyone else – that is, to be able to participate in the dignity of marriage – has finally been granted. Today’s historic victory comes on the backs of same-sex couples and advocates who have worked for decades to dismantle harmful stereotypes and unjust laws in the quest for equal treatment.”
— James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project
“The majority of North Carolina voters who define marriage as between one man and one woman deserved a final resolution from the Supreme Court. While this decision is disappointing, we respect the ruling and will continue to work to ensure North Carolina complies with the law of the land.”
— North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger
“This Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for equality, and we will remain vigilant in North Carolina to ensure that new legislation is not passed to allow discrimination on the behalf of a radical agenda for any reason. Republicans legislated discrimination in Senate Bill 2 and created a safe haven for it.
“Republican legislators cannot rewrite this legislative record with a press release feigning goodwill and innocent intent. ... The Republican majority has repeatedly passed legislation that they knew was unconstitutional, and the courts have repeatedly protected our citizens. Yet, this Republican majority has continued their assault on our citizens' constitutional rights. I applaud the Court’s ruling today for equality and equal treatment of all citizens under the law.”
— State Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham
"It’s a great day for all Americans and for the promise of our democracy. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed what a bipartisan super-majority – 60 percent – of Americans have come to understand: the freedom to marry is a precious, fundamental right that belongs to all. This decision is a momentous win for freedom, equality, inclusion and, above all, love. State officials should now move swiftly to implement the Court’s decision in the remaining 13 states with marriage discrimination. Same-sex couples and their families have waited long enough for this moment.
"As we celebrate this victory, we know we have a lot of work left to do. It is more critical than ever that we harness the momentum borne from the marriage conversation to secure true full equality for LGBTQ people. No one should have to choose between getting married and being fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or being denied service in restaurants and shops simply for being who they are."
— Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt
“I join many of my constituents, some of whom have been waiting for this moment for a long time, in celebrating today’s Supreme Court decision, which continues the remarkable progress we have made as a country toward equal rights for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. I am reminded this morning of the landmark cases of the Civil Rights era, when justice finally won out over long-standing prejudice.
“But we should also remember that we still have a long way to go. In many parts of the country, including North Carolina, LGBT Americans still don’t enjoy equal protection against discrimination in the workplace, in schools, by medical providers or in public facilities. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that all of our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family members are treated fairly under the law.”
— 4th District Congressman David Price
“While I have great respect for the U.S. Supreme Court as an institution, our Founding Fathers never intended for a few individuals on the bench to override the will and deeply held cultural beliefs of millions of Americans who have expressed their desire to defend traditional marriage by amending their respective state constitutions. Marriage between a man and a woman is a very sacred institution and has been the bedrock of every civilized society throughout history. It should be protected and preserved, not redefined, for absolutes are stronger than steel while redefinitions are nothing more than a slippery slope of shifting sand.”
— 7th District Congressman David Rouzer