AZ reaction varies to Court's decision on DOMA, Prop 8 - WNEM TV 5


AZ reaction varies to Court's decision on DOMA, Prop 8

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Cathi Herrod, president, Center for Arizona Policy. (Source: CBS 5 News) Cathi Herrod, president, Center for Arizona Policy. (Source: CBS 5 News)
U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ. (Source: CBS 5 News) U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ. (Source: CBS 5 News)

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and declined to rule on California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages, Arizonans began to issue statements.

Not surprisingly, both sides claimed a measure of victory.

"The key message for Arizonans from the U.S. Supreme Court today is this: Your right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman is preserved. It's important to note that the Court did not find a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Neither did the Court declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality.

"Though Center for Arizona Policy disagrees with aspects of the Court's decision, we are grateful that the Court did not undermine the will of Arizona voters who strongly supported our state's 2008 marriage amendment. In DOMA, CAP believes that the court erred in claiming that a state that has redefined marriage can force that definition on the federal government for purposes of federal marriage laws.

"In Prop 8, the court has ensured that the state-by-state debate about marriage is allowed to continue. Truly the debate over marriage has just begun.

"Marriage is more than just a personal promise, it serves a public purpose. It is society's best guarantee of a limited government that stays out of family life. Social science data has proved this time and time again.

"Center for Arizona Policy is committed to continuing to stand for marriage and to defeat any efforts to redefine this essential union."

- Cathi Herrod, president, Center for Arizona Policy

"By ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, our nation's highest court has affirmed our basic promise to our citizens. Every American has the fundamental freedom to care for their family and can expect equal treatment from their government. We've made historic progress in ensuring that every family can plan for the future and that every child can have access to the American Dream.

"Today, the Court reaffirmed that loving families in California have the legal ability and right to care for each other in committed, long-term family relationships. I congratulate the California families who have waited several years for today's ruling. For their families, the American promise of freedom, opportunity and security is real. However, today's ruling shows clearly that more work remains to be done. Every family in our country deserves the same security and protection afforded to families in California. I commit today with my colleagues around the country to continue to fight for the day every child, every couple, and every loving family enjoys the same happiness and security as those vindicated in today's ruling."

- U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-AZ

"The Maricopa County Democratic Party applauds the Court's landmark decision to advance the rights of same-sex married couples - ruling that all Americans are fully entitled to marry and to equality.

"On California's Prop 8, the Supreme Court said the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, since the state of California refused to defend Prop 8. It is therefore most likely that the U.S. District Court's decision overturning Prop 8 will stand - paving the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

"In the decision in United States v. Windsor (DOMA), the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act. The law has been found unconstitutional by two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals previously, and now the Supreme Court agrees. The Supreme Court now says the federal government must recognize as married all couples, including same-sex couples, that are legally married by a state. This provides over 1,100 federal benefits - from taxes to insurance to Social Security to immigration - for married couples.  And now same-sex couples are entitled to be treated equally in this regard. This is a huge step forward for same-sex couples in states where marriage equality exists.

"In the court's decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry (California's Proposition 8), the Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the issue before the court. Now, we'll have to wait and see when marriages by same-sex couples will begin again in California.

"We believe all Americans deserve the right to marry the person they love and deserve to be equally protected from discrimination by the law. The Maricopa County Democratic Party works continuously in support of these goals and on behalf of candidates who share these values."

- Maricopa County Democratic Party

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to strike down a key provision of DOMA puts the justices on the right side of history. The DOMA decision affirms that all loving and committed couples are entitled to equal respect and treatment under the law. Additionally, its decision on California's Prop 8 means that marriage equality will be restored to California.

"This is a momentous victory for the LBGTQ community and for anyone who supports equality and justice. DOMA's two-tiered marriage system led to discrimination against some families and the creation of a 'gay exception' to marriage that caused pain, uncertainty and financial harm for thousands of married lesbian and gay couples. Now all married couples, including same-sex couples, will be treated as married by the federal government, regardless of where they live. It also means these families will be covered by federal marital protections and can now better protect each other and their children.

"This, however, does not signal the end of our work. Instead, today's news gives all advocates for equality more momentum to pursue the freedom to marry in all states. A growing majority of the people in our country and in Arizona support marriage equality. California will soon be back on the list of states that have marriage equality and Equality Arizona will work with our supporters and allies to make Arizona the next addition to that list."

- Rebecca Wininger, president, Equality Arizona

"The U.S. Supreme Court had the chance to uphold the importance of marriage and its fundamental role in providing for our children and the future of the United States. By striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and failing to uphold California's Proposition 8, the Court has succumbed to our culture's radical efforts to redefine marriage and, in a very real sense, is now engaged in the ongoing battle against families, society and people of faith. 

"God has a plan for marriage, which He wove into the very fabric of human nature. This plan is so deeply embedded in our human nature that every culture in history has recognized it, and enshrined and protected it in law and custom. Marriage being exclusively between a man and a woman was not an idea created by these cultures but, rather, a truth received by them as something handed down from a higher authority. 

"Marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined. It is important to point out that everyone deserves love and respect, including those who experience same-sex attraction. But society is not served by marriage redefinition. Our children deserve the truth as instilled by one mother and one father in marriage as a family unit. 

"Despite the bad news from today's rulings we are fortunate that the Court did not hold that the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize so-called same-sex "marriage." Accordingly, Arizona's constitutional marriage amendment that was approved by voters in 2008 will thankfully remain in place. 

"While we are saddened by today's tragic Court decisions, we will continue our efforts to promote, strengthen and defend marriage in the face of this grave injustice handed down today. I ask for your prayers and support as we seek to build up a culture of life, respect, dignity and truth."

The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

"Rather than confining themselves to their Constitutional duty of deciding cases, the Supreme Court has more and more become the default arbiter of all major issues in America. If the American people allow this trend to continue, we can board up the Capitol and White House and send the people and their elected representatives home to henceforth live and breathe at the pleasure of a tyrannical judicial oligarchy.

"Society as a whole has long granted special privileges to traditional marriages to encourage and empower parents to remain committed to one another and to their children; and ultimately to ensure stronger families and a stronger nation. Incontrovertible data indicates that, in nearly all major indicators of life success, children raised in a traditional family structure significantly outperform their contemporaries raised in other family structures.

"The decision by the Supreme Court today will undermine the traditional family and its irreplaceable contribution to society, and history will mark and will hold those advocating and responsible for this decision accountable for its inevitable consequences to this and coming generations."

- U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ

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