Gay Marriage

Unelected Judges, Constitutional Amendments, and Judicial Tyranny: The GOP's Angry Reactions Toward Today's Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage

If Jeb Bush is any indication, they may not be angry for much longer.

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The Supreme Court ruled this morning that same sex marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Not surprisingly, Democrats are celebrating: Hillary Clinton's Twitter feed has undergone a Google-doodle-like conversion, with her H-arrow logo converted into a rainbow flag and the word HISTORY spelled out in a rainbow-colored version of her campaign's signature font. President Obama Tweeted out that: "Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins"

Hillary Clinton/Twitter

But Republicans aren't so pleased. In fact, a few of them are hopping mad.

GOP presidential hopeful and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee issued a fist-shaking battle-cry of response, saying, "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." Huckabee declared the ruling unconstitutional, and insisted that "the Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature's God on marriage than it can the law of gravity."

And he warned against acceptance of the decision in the federal government's elected branches. "The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny."

Huckabee will be doing his part in the fight against judicial tyranny by holding sure-to-be-thrilling three town halls in Iowa, including one at Minerva's Restaurant in the Sioux City Marketplace Shopping Center, which he hopes you'll attend.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal struck a similar note in his reaction, saying that the ruling "tramples on states' rights" and warning that the "decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision."

Another GOP presidential contender, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, reacted more or less like you'd expect Rick Santorum to react, harrumphing on Twitter that "Today, 5 unelected judges redefined the foundational unit of society. Now it is the people's turn to speak." Donate now to restore the American Dream!

In a statement emailed to media, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has yet to officially announce a presidential bid but is currently running near the top of the pack in many polls, called the Court's decision "a grave mistake" by "five unelected judges," and further calling on Americans "to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, described himself as "disappointed," and promised that he "would appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written." 

Other Republican candidates, however, were less apocalyptic in their responses. Ben Carson sent out a statement saying that while he "strongly" disagrees with the ruling, it "is now the law of the land," and the focus should turn to protecting religious liberties. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham weighed in as a "proud defender of traditional marriage" who believes in the rights of states to set their own marriage policies, but also said that he would "respet the Court's decision."

But the most interesting—and perhaps telling—GOP reaction so far came from the presidential field's current front-runner, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who voiced his objection, and then called for a respectful disagreement between the two camps. Bush's statement is essentially a call to note opposition and then move on. Here it is in full:

Gage Skidmore/Foter

"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."

Bush is undoubtedly a weaker front-runner than he'd like to be, but he is, at this moment, the party's front-runner for the 2016 presidential nomination. What's more, Bush's strategy is heavily built around the idea that if he acts like the front-runner, that's what he'll be. And this is what he thinks a GOP front-runner's position on the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage across the states should look like: a nod to personal opposition, and an invocation to the party faithful to, essentially, accept it, respect those who disagree, and move on. 

What this suggests, then, is that Bush and his team believe that there's not much mileage for a GOP candidate in aggressive posturing and grandstanding against this ruling and all that it portends. If that's the case, then it means that the GOP's current fiery opposition may not burn all that hot for much longer.

Update: I see that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another top-tier Republican candidate, is also in the respect-the-decision camp, saying that while he "[disagrees]  with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law."