Elected officials weigh in on SCOTUS decision

By: Newscenter 16 staff Email
By: Newscenter 16 staff Email
Statements regarding Wednesday

Demonstrators stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Tuesday, March 26, 2013, where the court will hear arguments on California�s voter approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Statements regarding Wednesday's SCOTUS decision continue to roll in from elected officials across the nation and in our area.

A list of all statements in the order they were received is below:

Zoeller: States had to defend their legal authority to define marriage

INDIANAPOLIS -- Today the United States Supreme Court issued its opinions in two cases regarding same-sex marriage: Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Proposition 8 case, and U.S. v. Windsor, the DOMA case. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office had authored amicus briefs, filed with the Court on behalf of Indiana and many other states, in support of the authority of state governments to legally recognize the traditional marriage definition. Zoeller today issued this statement:

“While my office is duty bound to defend the authority of our state legislature and their decisions, I recognize that people have strongly held and vastly different views on the issue of marriage and ask that everyone show respect with civility to our Supreme Court and our constitutional system. Regardless of the different views people may hold, marriage should be a source of unity and not division,” Zoeller said.

On January 29, Zoeller’s office filed with the Supreme Court an amicus brief, authored by Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher in the U.S. v. Windsor case. The brief, which urged the Court to leave intact the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was joined, or signed on to, by state attorneys general of 16 other states. To express their legal positions to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases where they are not plaintiffs or defendants, states such as Indiana often file amicus briefs, also called friend-of-the-court briefs.

Fisher also co-authored an amicus brief that Zoeller’s office jointly filed along with the State of Virginia in the related case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, that was joined by 17 other states. That brief also voiced support for the authority of California to adopt Proposition 8, a voter-approved referendum that had legally defined marriage in the traditional way within that state but was struck down by a federal appeals court.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the two cases on March 26 and 27 and issued its decisions today. The majority opinion in the Windsor case struck down the federal DOMA law as unconstitutional but confined the holding to those states where same-sex marriage already is lawful. The majority opinion in the Perry case found that supporters of Proposition 8 lacked standing to appeal the lower court’s decision that struck down the California law.

As the lawyer for state government, Zoeller’s office is reviewing the Supreme Court opinions and will advise state legislators, the AG’s law clients, as to the impact on Indiana statutes. Zoeller noted the two merits-stage amicus briefs were drafted and filed at no additional cost or expense to taxpayers and Solicitor General Fisher’s work on them was within the office’s regular budget, approved by the Legislature in advance.

Levin Statement on Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

WASHINGTON – Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., made the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court rulings are victories for equality and for simple human dignity. I favored repeal of DOMA because it falls short of its ideal of equality under the law. The Supreme Court’s recognition of that truth is in keeping with our best traditions and will give millions of Americans the legal protections to which they are fully entitled under our Constitution. I’m hopeful that our nation’s centuries-long march toward equality will continue to move forward.”

Speaker Bosma responds to Supreme Court Rulings

House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) issued the following statement in response to today’s United States Supreme Court rulings:
“I am disappointed the federal Defense of Marriage Act has been overturned. I am certainly pleased the Supreme Court has confirmed each state’s right to address the legal issue of what constitutes one of the most important institutions in our society.

“The members of the General Assembly will be fully equipped to address the issue of the constitutional amendment in the coming legislative session, and with today’s decision, I am confident the matter will come before the General Assembly and ultimately be placed on a referenda ballot for voter consideration. As they have in 30 other states, Hoosiers should have the right to speak on this issue.”

LANANE: High court decision clears path for equality, reflects growing Hoosier sentiment

INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) issued the following statement regarding the United States Supreme Court rulings on United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v.
Perry: “I believe these are a pair of landmark decisions for civil rights in our country where the Supreme Court has chosen to clear a path for same sex marriages to be recognized.
“Moving forward, it is my hope that Indiana becomes a state that welcomes all, regardless of their sexual orientation, rather than taking unnecessary measures to make Indiana inhospitable.”
“As we work to attract the best and brightest to our state, it is imperative that anyone looking to contribute to the Hoosier economy feels welcome.
“Study after study shows growing support for marriage equality for all Hoosiers. We must ensure that our policies reflect this evolving sentiment.
“It is my hope that lawmakers can put this divisive debate behind them, and focus on the priorities that matter to every Hoosier family- a strong economy, good schools, and thriving local communities.
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.

Attorney General Bill Schuette: In Wake of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions, Michigan Constitution Stands

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued the following statement regarding the rulings by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry:
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states, not the federal government, retain the constitutional authority to define marriage. Michigan’s Constitution stands and the will of the people to define marriage as between one man and one woman endures in the Great Lakes State.”


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