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VOL. 130 | NO. 124 | Friday, June 26, 2015

React: Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling

Daily News staff

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A divided U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Here is a roundup of local reaction to the landmark ruling.


Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:

“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.” 



U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.:

“I hope today’s Supreme Court ruling can put this issue to rest and that the Tennessee General Assembly does not attempt to thwart or undermine the ruling by passing legislation making it more difficult for Memphians like Ijpe DeKoe and Thom Kostura to exercise their constitutional rights. As the Supreme Court has now said, denial of marriage rights is clearly a denial of equal protection, regardless of its effectiveness as a means to score political points at the expense of yet another minority group. As we have seen today, courage and justice always overcome cowardice and prejudice.” 


Courtney Leyes, Attorney, Fisher & Phillips’ Memphis office:

“Employers will be impacted by this decision and should re-examine policies pertaining to any benefits of employment extended to heterosexual married couples, including FMLA policies, to ensure that these policies apply equally to same-sex married couples. If anything, this decision is a precursor to what we will expect from the Supreme Court down the road – I think that in the near future, the Court will re-examine whether sexual orientation and preference are encompassed within the meaning of “sex” under Title VII.”


Ryan Haynes, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman:

“Tennesseans overwhelmingly voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman. If a change was to be made, it should have been allowed to play out through the democratic process but, unfortunately, today’s judicial activism short-circuits that ability. While this has long been pushed by the Democrats' agenda, the issue is far from settled."


Mary Mancini, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman:

“With today’s decision we see that love and respect has triumphed and we rejoice knowing that every person has the right to marry the person they love. Today is a day that Democrats celebrate with those couples as they build strong families while securing a future for themselves, in Tennessee and across our nation.”


Tennessee Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis:

"I want to congratulate all of the couples in Tennessee who have waited so long for this day, when their state can recognize the love they share," state Sen. Lee Harris said. "I want to congratulate all the people who can now look forward to a wedding day right here in their home state, and I want to congratulate the plaintiffs from Tennessee who worked so hard for this historic day.

"Many of us have been fighting this battle against discrimination for a long time and put in so much effort. I still have the battle scars from our fight with the City of Memphis to expand anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community. It has been a long, difficult road to get here. And now we can celebrate.

"The larger context of the Court's recent opinions is even more astonishing. In recent opinions, the Supreme Court has given states authority to banish divisive symbols, preserve the Affordable Healthcare Act and, now, support for marriage equality. It's enough to make progressives, like me, dizzy with glee. It's a new era for civil rights." 


Tennessee Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis:

"Today will be remembered with tears of joy as the day it became simply marriage, an institution built on love and respect between two loving people," state Sen. Sara Kyle said. "What a historic day for Tennessee, where we now say once and for all that love is love - not just in our hearts, but in the eyes of the law. The fight isn't over, but this is a tremendous step toward equality for all."


Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III:

“Today’s United States Supreme Court decision not only changes the definition of marriage, but takes from the states and their citizens the longstanding authority to vote and decide what marriage means. To the Tennessee citizen who asks ‘Don’t we get a chance to vote on this in some way?’ the answer from the Supreme Court is a resounding, ‘No, you do not.’

"For the Court to tell all Tennesseans that they have no voice, no right to vote, on these issues is disappointing. The Court, nevertheless, has spoken and we respect its decision. Our office is prepared to work with the Governor and the General Assembly, as needed, to take the necessary steps to implement the decision.”

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