Presidential Candidates Respond to Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

Updated: Jun 26, 2015 11:32 AM ET

White House aspirants were out with statements responding to the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide within seconds of the decision being announced Friday morning.

Democrats were elated with the decision, following that party's swift turn on the issue over the last decade. The Republican reaction was more mixed, with all expressing disappointment with the high court's ruling, but disagreeing on the next steps forward.

Social conservatives pledged to continue to keep fighting against same-sex marriage, while other candidates said they would move to ensure that those who object to such unions were not punished for their beliefs.

Gay Marriage US Supreme Court RulingSupporters of gay marriage rally after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry at the Supreme Court in Washington June 26, 2015.  Joshua Roberts—Reuters 

Here are the reactions, in roughly chronological order:

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D):

Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that marriage is a human right — not a state right. I'm grateful to the people of Maryland for leading the way on this important issue of human dignity and equality under the law. The American Dream is strongest when all are included.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D):

Along with millions of Americans, I am celebrating today’s landmark victory for marriage equality, and the generations of advocates and activists who fought to make it possible. From Stonewall to the Supreme Court, the courage and determination of the LGBT community has changed hearts and changed laws.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R):

The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do — redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R):

The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states' rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.

This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (D):

For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R):

Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R):

I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges "has been with us for millennia." In 2006 I, like millions of Americans, voted to amend our state constitution to protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism. The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R):

I am a proud defender of traditional marriage and believe the people of each state should have the right to determine their marriage laws. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and I will respect the Court’s decision. Furthermore, given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress. Rather than pursuing a divisive effort that would be doomed to fail, I am committing myself to ensuring the protection of religious liberties of all Americans

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (R):

I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected. The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R):

Justice Alito spoke for so many of us when he said that "[t]oday’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage … All Americans, whatever their thinking on that issue, should worry about what the majority’s claim of power portends."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R):

While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R):

I am disappointed the Supreme Court today chose to change the centuries old definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. I’m a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench, and as president, I would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written.

See Scenes of Celebration After Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling

Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 26, 2015.Jacquelyn Martin—AP
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage
John Becker, Paul Guequierre
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Supreme Court Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage
Sasha Altschuler
Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, on June 26, 2015.
Jacquelyn Martin—AP
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