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Politicians, Groups React to Gay Marriage Ruling

Thursday Jun 26, 2014
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From left, plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity, Derek Kitchen, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, two of the three couples who brought the lawsuit against Utah’s gay marriage ban.
From left, plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity, Derek Kitchen, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, two of the three couples who brought the lawsuit against Utah’s gay marriage ban.  (Source:AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled for the first time that states cannot prevent gay couples from marrying. Here are some quotes from and about that decision:

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"It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples." - From the 2-1 ruling of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel

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"We should resist the temptation to become philosopher-kings, imposing our views under the guise of the Fourteenth Amendment." - Dissenting opinion from 10th Circuit Justice Paul J. Kelly Jr.

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"I cannot believe this. My hands are shaking so much, I can hardly hold the phone; I’m so happy. All I can say is that we are thrilled." - Plaintiff Kody Partridge

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"Although the Court’s 2-1 split decision does not favor the State, we are pleased that the ruling has been issued and takes us one step closer to reaching certainty and finality for all Utahns on such an important issue with a decision from the highest court." - Utah attorney general’s office

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"This decision is an absolute victory for fairness and equality for all families in Utah, in every state in the 10th Circuit and every state in this great nation of the United States." - Peggy Tomsic, attorney for the plaintiffs

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"We can’t get finality and final resolution unless the Supreme Court hears the case and makes a decision. Once that happens, we’ll abide by what the court decides." - Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

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"It feels wonderful to be among one of the many same-sex couples across the country that are being respected and are offered dignity by the court system, and this is just emblematic of the United States judicial process. I don’t think that the state of Utah can continue to deny same-sex couples their rights for much longer." - Plaintiff Derek Kitchen

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Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity, right, and his partner Derek Kitchen.  (Source:AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"Utah has the authority to decline to recognize valid marriages from other states that are inconsistent with its public policy choices. To conclude otherwise would nationalize the regulation of marriage, thereby forcing each state ’to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.’" - 10th Circuit Justice Paul J. Kelly Jr., in his dissent

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"What is so powerful here is that we have the first federal appellate court and ... it’s a case coming out of Utah affirming in the strongest, clearest, boldest terms that the Constitution guarantees the freedom to marry and equal protection for all Americans and all means all, including gay couples." - Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry president

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"The Church has been consistent in its support of marriage between a man and a woman and teaches that all people should be treated with respect. In anticipation that the case will be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, it is our hope that the nation’s highest court will uphold traditional marriage." - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Salt Lake City

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"It’s just a wonderful victory today for the entire United States, for our due process, for our Constitution. This is a victory for humanity." - Plaintiff Kate Call

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"Although I oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have always believed that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. In my view, the U.S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each State." - Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah

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"Today’s decision affirms what we all know to be true - the U.S. Constitution guarantees the basic civil rights of all Americans, not just some. Utah’s ban on marriage equality does nothing to strengthen or protect any marriage. Instead, it singles out thousands of loving Utah families for unfair treatment simply because of who they are. Our Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination." - Chad Griffin, Human Rights Campaign president

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"This is a proud day for everybody in the state of Utah, and everybody across the country, who supports marriage equality. Though there is still much to do, the journey to ensuring the freedom to marry for all just got a huge boost with today’s decision." - John Mejia, ACLU of Utah legal director

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"While judges can, by judicial fiat, declare same-sex ’marriage’ legal, they will never be able to make it right. The courts, for all their power, can’t overturn natural law." - Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert  (Source:AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

"They are all very excited. It’s going to be a very important decision to have the court of appeals saying these kinds of laws violate the constitutional rights of same-sex couples." - Denver attorney John McHugh, representing nine same-sex couples challenging Colorado’s gay marriage ban

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"We are disappointed that the 10th Circuit did not uphold Utah’s voter-approved marriage amendment that affirmed marriage as a one-man, one-woman union. Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Utah confirmed that at the ballot box." - Kerri Kupec, Alliance Defending Freedom legal communications director

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"We’re thrilled for the plaintiffs in Utah. We think this is wonderful news, and we’re excited to see our ruling coming soon." - Sharon Baldwin, plaintiff in similar Oklahoma case pending with the 10th Circuit

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"Thousands of committed couples in Colorado are eagerly waiting for the opportunity to be married. While today’s ruling does not provide that immediate freedom, it does send a clear message that our state’s ban harms families and should not stand." - Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, ACLU of Colorado executive director

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The 10th Circuit ruling shows what happens when "a few federal judges decide that they can unilaterally override the decision of Utah voters" to define marriage as between a man and woman. - Utah-based Sutherland Institute

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"Today’s decision is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought the case forward in Utah, but for everyone who cares about protecting and supporting families. Following today’s historic ruling, there can be no doubt that our own state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the basic principles of fairness and equality that Coloradans hold dear." - Dave Montez, One Colorado executive director

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"This is a whole new playing field now. It’s hugely momentous for Utah and the entire country." - Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco


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This article is part of our "Gay Marriage" series. Want to read more? Here's the full list»

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