When the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality on June 26, state law continued to bar same-sex couples from marrying in 13 states and in Puerto Rico –– and Alabama was continuing to resist a federal court order that the Supreme Court had earlier declined to stay.
Reaction from the governors of those 15 jurisdictions follows:
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. | OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR/ ALABAMA
Governor Robert Bentley, Republican:
“I agree with 81 percent of the people of Alabama who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. Despite the courts ruling this morning I have not changed my mind. We will always obey the law. We will follow the rule of law.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson, Republican
“Today the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision requires the State of Arkansas to recognize same-sex marriage. This decision goes against the expressed view of Arkansans and my personal beliefs and convictions. While my personal convictions will not change, as governor I recognize the responsibility of the state to follow the direction of the US Supreme Court. As a result of this ruling, I will direct all state agencies to comply with the decision.
“It is also important to note that the Supreme Court decision is directed at the states to allow and recognize marriage between two people of the same sex. It is not a directive for churches or pastors to recognize same-sex marriage. The decision for churches, pastors, and individuals is a choice that should be left to the convictions of conscience.”
Governor Nathan Deal, Republican
“While I believe that this issue should be decided by the states and by legislatures, not the federal judiciary, I also believe in the rule of law. The State of Georgia is subject to the laws of the United States, and we will follow them.”
Arkansas Governor Steve Beshear. | OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR/ ARKANSAS
Governor Steve Beshear, Democrat
“The fractured laws across the country concerning same-sex marriage had created an unsustainable and unbalanced legal environment, wherein citizens were treated differently depending on the state in which they resided. That situation was unfair, no matter which side of the debate you may support.
“Kentuckians, and indeed all Americans, deserved a final determination of what the law in this country would be, and that is the reason we pursued an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Today’s opinion finally provides that clarity.
All Cabinets of the Executive Branch have been directed to immediately alter any policies necessary to implement the decision from the Supreme Court.
“Effective today, Kentucky will recognize as valid all same-sex marriages performed in other states and in Kentucky. I have instructed the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives to provide revised marriage license forms to our county clerks for immediate use, beginning today. We will report additional expected policy changes in the coming days.”
Governor Bobby Jindal. | OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR/ LOUISIANA
Governor Bobby Jindal, Republican
“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.
“The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.
“I will never stop fighting for religious liberty and I hope our leaders in DC join me.”
Governor Rick Snyder, Republican
“Same-sex marriage has been a divisive issue in Michigan and across our country. Recognizing that there are strong feelings on both sides, it is important for everyone to respect the judicial process and the decision today from the US Supreme Court. Our state government will follow the law and our state agencies will make the necessary changes to ensure that we will fully comply.
“Let’s also recognize while this issue has stirred passionate debate, we now should focus on the values we share. With this matter now settled, as Michiganders we should move forward positively, embracing our state’s diversity and striving to treat everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve.”
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. | TWITTER.COM/PHILBRYANTNEWS
Governor Phil Bryant, Republican
“Throughout history, states have had the authority to regulate marriage within their borders. Today, a federal court has usurped that right to self-governance and has mandated that states must comply with federal marriage standards — standards that are out of step with the wishes of many in the United States and that are certainly out of step with the majority of Mississippians.”
Governor Jay Nixon, Democrat
“Today’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a major victory for equality and an important step toward a fairer and more just society for all Americans. No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. In the coming days, I will be taking all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure this decision is implemented throughout the state of Missouri.”
Governor Pete Ricketts, Republican
“The US Supreme Court has spoken and ruled state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. While 70 percent of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples. We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.”
Governor Jack Dalrymple, Republican
“The US Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation and we will abide by this federal mandate.”
John Kasich, Republican
Kasich’s spokesperson, Rob Nichols, said, “The governor has always believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but our nation's highest court has spoken and we must respect its decision.”
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla. | OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR/ PUERTO RICO
Governor Alejandro Javier García Padilla, Democrat/ Popular Democratic Party
The governor immediately issued an executive order to facilitate the start of marriage by same-sex couples within 15 days.
Governor Bill Haslam, Republican
“The people of Tennessee have recently voted clearly on this issue. The Supreme Court has overturned that vote. We will comply with the decision and will ensure that our departments are able to do so as quickly as possible.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott. | OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL/ TEXAS
Governor Greg Abbott, Republican
“The Supreme Court has abandoned its role as an impartial judicial arbiter and has become an unelected nine-member legislature. Five Justices on the Supreme Court have imposed on the entire country their personal views on an issue that the Constitution and the court’s previous decisions reserved to the people of the states.
“Despite the Supreme Court’s rulings, Texans’ fundamental right to religious liberty remains protected. No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage.
The Texas Constitution guarantees that ‘no human authority ought, in any case whatsoever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion.’ The First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion; and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act, combined with the newly enacted Pastor Protection Act, provide robust legal protections to Texans whose faith commands them to adhere to the traditional understanding of marriage.
“As I have done in the past, I will continue to defend the religious liberties of all Texans — including those whose conscience dictates that marriage is only the union of one man and one woman. Later today, I will be issuing a directive to state agencies instructing them to prioritize the protection of Texans’ religious liberties.”
Governor Dennis Daugaard, Republican
“We are a nation of laws, and the state will follow the law. I will be working with the AG to comply with the decision in Obergefell.”