Angered by Friday’s landmark ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage, some states and Republican presidential hopefuls made clear over the weekend that they will not rush to implement that ruling.
“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who issued a legal opinion to his state’s Governor that would allow officials to not process same-sex marriage licenses or conduct those ceremonies.
Paxton said county clerks, justices of the peace and other judges “retain religious freedoms” – meaning they cannot be forced to either grant marriage licenses or marry a same-sex couple.
“It is important to note that any clerk who wishes to defend their religious objections and who chooses not to issue licenses may well face litigation and/or a fine,” Paxton said on Sunday.
“But, numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” the Texas Attorney General added.
There was also resistance in Mississippi and Louisiana, where state officials said they would wait for a definitive order from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals before allowing same-sex marriages.
Republicans divided on Supreme Court ruling response
As for the Republicans running for President, while the nearly unanimous reaction was that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong in its decision, the GOP hopefuls differed on exactly what to do.
Some, like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio were quick to express their opposition, but indicated the Supreme Court’s ruling should be followed.
Others, like Mike Huckabee, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz called for a change in the Constitution – Huckabee and Walker saying states should get the power back to decide on same-sex marriage state by state; Cruz wants Supreme Court judges to be forced into national retention elections.
But while Cruz was pressing the case on the Supreme Court, Walker seemingly backed away from red meat rhetoric on the same-sex marriage decision during a big conservative gathering in Colorado.
Set up perfectly by talk show host Hugh Hewitt, who asked the Wisconsin Governor if he was “all in” on religious freedom, Walker didn’t mention anything about the same-sex decision.
“To me, it is not freedom from religion, it is freedom of religion,” Walker said, as he didn’t mention the Supreme Court ruling in either his opening remarks or a later Q&A session.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul finally broke several days of silence about the marriage ruling, writing an op-ed in Time Magazine that gave the decision a thumbs down, but did it in a different sort of way than other Republicans.
“While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract,” Paul wrote, who said state and local governments should deal with marriage, not Washington.
“State legislatures are entitled to express their preference for traditional marriage, so long as the equal rights of same sex couples are protected,” Paul said.