Local leaders react to same-sex marriage ruling

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In a landmark 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to get married anywhere in the country.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, though local leaders had a lot to say about the decision and what it means for the United States.

Gov. Gina Raimondo:

“Today is a great day for all Americans. With this historic decision, every couple has the right to marry – no matter where they live, or who they love.

“I was so proud when Rhode Island took a huge step forward in 2013 to ensure marriage equality. I am overjoyed for the many same-sex couples across the country who can celebrate their love today – just as they can here in Rhode Island.”

Congressman David Cicilline:

“Today is a victory that is truly decades in the making and ends long-standing discrimination against the LGBT community in the context of marriage. I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision and thank the many citizens and advocates across the country who have dedicated so much of their time and energy to make this day possible. This decision affirms the core American value of equal justice under the law by giving every American full marriage equality.”

“And while we celebrate this decision, we know that there is still more work to be done.”

“Only 19 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees. Just 17 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBT community in public accommodations. And a scarce 14 states and the District of Columbia prohibit LGBT discrimination in education. Most Americans would be surprised to hear that a gay couple could be married on Saturday, post photos of their wedding on Sunday, and then be fired on Monday for no reason other than the fact that they’re gay. But this is the reality in a majority of states today.”

“In the coming weeks, I will introduce a comprehensive LGBT anti-discrimination bill with Senator Jeff Merkley in order to ensure that LGBT Americans are free from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other core areas of daily life.”

“I look forward to continuing to work with advocates in the days ahead to enact a comprehensive anti-discrimination law that will guarantee that LGBT Americans are equal in the eyes of the law.”

Congressman Jim Langevin:

“It is an exciting and historic day in America. Same-sex couples previously treated as second-class citizens will soon have the freedom to marry regardless of where they live. We will look back on this day and recognize it as a milestone for human rights and, I hope, as a turning point in the acceptance, inclusion and equal treatment of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“I was so proud when Rhode Island was ahead of the curve on this issue, legalizing same-sex marriage more than two years ago. That pride is magnified today as the United States dismantles another barrier of discrimination, bringing us one step closer to equal rights for all.”

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed:

“I am pleased the court found that, consistent with Rhode Island law, same-sex marriage is protected under the Constitution. Under the 14th Amendment, states must recognize same-sex marriages lawfully licensed and performed in other states.

“Rhode Island is a leader on this issue and now this ruling sews up the patchwork of legal precedents concerning marriage equality and ensures same-sex marriages performed in our state will be recognized across the country.”

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

“Today the Supreme Court affirmed that the love of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation, is equal under the law. We have already recognized this basic truth in Rhode Island, but I’m glad that LGBT couples in all 50 states will now be free from discrimination when it comes to marriage. This is an historic step toward true equality for all, and I stand with Rhode Island’s LGBT community in applauding the decision.”

Bishop Thomas Tobin:

“A thousand courts may rule otherwise, but the very notion of “same-sex marriage” is morally wrong and a blatant rejection of God’s plan for the human family. As Pope Francis taught while serving as Archbishop in Argentina: “Same-sex marriage is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is a move of the ‘father of lies’ who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

“Despite the current trends of our society, or perhaps because of them, the Church must redouble its commitment to proclaim and defend authentic concepts of marriage and family as we have received them from God. We will always do so, however, in a respectful, charitable and constructive manner.”

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin:

“Today marks a historic decision upholding equal rights for all individuals, especially those who choose to enter into a same sex marriage. The United States Constitution recognizes that all people are equal and can marry who they choose regardless of gender. And, I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the most basic principal of equality for all.”

R.I. Sen. Donna Nesselbush

“Today is a great day for freedom and equality, a great day for gay and lesbian individuals and a great day for America. I am so proud of our country and of our Supreme Court for this long overdue decision.”

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court marks a historic day for our country where love, compassion, and equality has overcome intolerance, bigotry and fear. This is a day to be celebrated and remembered. I wept when I heard the news, astonished at the sea change I have witnessed and lived. So much has changed in one lifetime. There was a time in my life when I would have said with conviction and sincerity that this day would never come. Henceforth and forever more, ALL loving couples throughout the land can now marry his or her heart’s desire and be treated with the same respect, consideration and legal rights that heterosexual couples have always enjoyed.”

“As the court stated in it’s opinion, ‘[n]o union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.’ All we ever wanted was to be treated equally, having the same right to achieve those ideals. Today the highest court in our land confirms that our beloved, venerable and wise Constitution grants all of us that right. Today is truly a great day.”

Congressman Joe Kennedy III:

“Tomorrow hundreds of thousands of American families will finally wake up in a country where their love counts, without question or qualification.

“To the fearless advocates, leaders, and allies that shouldered this battle for decades, long before today’s ruling was even a pipe dream — your faith in this country’s better angels has made her kinder, richer, and stronger. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.

“Today, we celebrate. Then we roll up our sleeves and work to bring that light of justice from the courtroom to our schools, workplaces, public spaces and every remaining inch in between.”

Rhode Island Pride:

“Rhode Island Pride is thrilled with the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows for the marriage of same-sex couples nationwide, solidifying the belief of the LGBTQ comunity that equality IS possible and that love will always win! RI Pride’s theme of IndiVISIBLE rings true today with liberty and justice being served, though it reminds us that full equality for ALL is still not realized as many members of our community who are trans, black, living below the poverty line, homeless, HIV+ , or even elderly, are still facing unnecessary prejudices against them. As we come together to celebrate this historic ruling, let’s stay together and forge a stronger path to full equality for every one of us.”

RI Religious Coalition for Marriage Equality:

“As leaders of faith communities that uphold same-sex marriage, we are delighted that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in favor of inclusion of all American Couples. Now, all couples will enjoy the same rights and benefits.

From a religious perspective, affirmation of same-sex marriage is fundamentally about love and the recognition of the dignity of all people. The bible teaches that God created every human being in the divine image and every one of us is a manifestation of God’s goodness and beauty. All couples have the potential to be holy and they deserve our support and encouragement. Biblical teaching is clear that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts and to love one another as we love ourselves.

As pastors, we value all the families in our congregations and we are pleased that the hurt and the stigma that always comes with inequality has been removed. Jesus taught a message of love and inclusion. We can only be pleased that the Supreme Court of the United States, through reasoning with a totally secular perspective, has concurred.

We remember fondly the many advocates who have given voice to a demand for justice. We recall with gratitude the legislators in the Rhode Island General Assembly who took a reasoned stand for fairness and a supportive Governor who signed the bill.

We pray for people of conscience who may struggle with this decision. We call for mutual respect, civility and understanding among all people of faith. Reacting with rejection and negation will not lead to a healing solution. Tolerance requires respect not agreement. Let us embrace each other lovingly in a spirit of humility. Especially in Rhode Island, where tolerance is in our cultural DNA.”

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