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Regional Reaction To Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States. Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court's previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.
Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-CT
“I commend the Supreme Court on its historic decision,” said Rep. Esty. “Today, we celebrate with countless Americans who have faced systematic discrimination because of who they love. Now, all Americans will have equal access to marriage and we have enshrined in our law that same-sex couples deserve the same recognition from their government as their neighbor.  The Constitution is a living document for a dynamic people. Today’s decision will take its place in the pantheon of historic cases honoring our nation’s enduring promise that every person is deserving of dignity, respect, and equality under the law. But let’s remember: this struggle is far from over. This is personal for many families, including my own. My brother had the courage to come out in 1978, when equality was still a distant dream. We still have work to do in our efforts to advance equal rights for all Americans. We need to ensure that no one is denied employment, housing, opportunities, or benefits because of their sexual orientation.”

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY
“Marriage is about love, respect and commitment, and today’s Supreme Court decision making marriage equality the law of the land grants long overdue dignity and protection to same-sex couples. No longer will these couples have to navigate a confusing patchwork of laws that stand in the way of equal protection or the simple act of calling the one you love your husband or wife. Today is a day to look back upon as a time when we strengthened millions of families across the country as well as the institution of marriage itself.”

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lieutenant Gov. Nancy Wyman, D-CT
Governor Malloy: “Today’s decision marks a historic moment in U.S. history and reaffirms everything that this great nation stands for – equality, liberty, and justice for all.  It’s a day that Americans across our state and country can celebrate.  While the State of Connecticut has recognized marriage for same-sex couples since 2008, today’s ruling means that our residents cannot lose their marriage rights while traveling from state to state.  In short, couples will get the equality under the law that they rightfully deserve.  My wife Cathy and I proudly join all of our friends, both gay and straight, to celebrate today’s ruling and its recognition that the Constitution of the United States serves to protect the rights of all its residents equally.”

Lt. Governor Wyman: “This decision marks a victory for equality and inclusivity.  At a time when our nation is again facing devastation wrought by violence and bias, this ruling reconnects us to our humanity – our common desire to establish safe communities, build strong families, and be treated fairly and justly under the law.  I’m grateful to the pioneers, the leaders, the lawyers, and the couples that stood up to intolerance and bias.  These men and women who fought a decades-long war to get us to today.  Today’s victory furthers us as a nation, one that is committed to all of our citizens.”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY
“The Supreme Court made the right decision today by recognizing same-sex marriages and treating all same-sex couples across the country equally under the law. Today the court continued the progress of the civil rights movement, and reaffirmed a moral truth about freedom in America that is, as John Kennedy said, "as old as scripture and as clear as the American Constitution.” As children we are taught the founding principle of our nation, that all Americans are created equal, and this ruling is a modern reflection of the Declaration of Independence and the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Last year, I celebrated this ruling in a personal way - by marrying my now-husband Randy after 22 years together, with whom I have raised three beautiful children. While the idea of marriage was once impossible, in the eyes of the federal government, because of the Supreme Court’s action, our relationship was finally treated as equal under federal law. These triumphs are not only for families like mine, but for millions of Americans who still face legal discrimination simply for who they are and who they love. I will continue to work in Congress to make sure that we keep taking steps toward full equality.”

Allan Gilbert, ACLU-Vermont
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today is an achievement one sees perhaps once in a lifetime – the broadening of a right denied to a class of Americans for generations. Gay and lesbian couples simply wanted to love one another and have their long-term loving relationship recognized for what it is – marriage. Vermont should take great pride in its contribution to making this happen. Civil unions in 2000 and equal marriage in 2009 were some of the most important steps taken anywhere in the nation on the road to marriage equality. The heroes and heroines in this fight are many. We thank them all.

Gov. Charlie Baker, R-MA

“For me, the issue of marriage equality is personal. I’m pleased the Commonwealth has already recognized same-sex marriages in our state, and with today’s Supreme Court decision every American citizen across the nation will have equal protection under the law and the right to marry the person they choose.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-NH

“Today, the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, affirming the founding principle of the United States of America that all individuals are created equal. I believe strongly in the rights of all citizens to participate fully in the civic and economic life of our communities, which is why I fought so hard to bring marriage equality to our state, and I’m extremely proud that New Hampshire helped pave the way to this truly historic day. Throughout our history, every time we have sought to include all people in the life of our democracy, we have grown stronger, and this decision is a momentous victory in our enduring quest to build a brighter future by fully including all people in our society.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT

“Today I feel so proud to be a citizen of a country that can have the courage to get right what it got wrong for so long. Who you are, who you love, and what you feel should never be reasons for discrimination. Though we have a long way to go, the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality this morning takes a giant stride toward eliminating such prejudices across all institutions in America. I’m thrilled that the justices ruled in favor of common sense and equality, and I stand with them in my unwavering support for the LGBT community.”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, D-NY

“Today’s historic ruling has finally recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states and stands on the side of dignity for all Americans. I am proud to have joined every individual who fought to secure equal rights and equal protection for all couples. Today, we celebrate a victory for justice.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH

“I am elated by the Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of marriage equality for all gay and lesbian couples in this country,” said Shaheen. “It’s been five years since New Hampshire embraced marriage equality, and now, finally, the rest of the country will no longer discriminate based on whom one loves or where one lives. Marriage discrimination against gays and lesbians and their families has done needless harm for far too long, but today we can celebrate that those days are coming to a close. This decision will be remembered as a monumental moment in our nation’s progress towards freedom and equality for all.” 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY

“New York has been a leader in the fight for marriage equality, and today’s Supreme Court decision affirms what we have fought so hard for – that marriage is a fundamental right that should be afforded to everyone, regardless of whom they love. When we passed the Marriage Equality Act in 2011, New York sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society’s greatest inequities, and I am thrilled to see the Court join us on the right side of history. Dividing people into first and second-class citizens is not only wrong, it runs contrary to who we are as a nation. From Stonewall to Edie Windsor, New Yorkers have always been on the front lines of the fight to ensure equality and fairness for all. Today, we are proud New Yorkers and proud Americans. Today, progress marches on.”

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, D-NY

“The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision today grants same-sex marriages the dignity, equality and respect they deserve. We need to continue the fight to ensure equal protection in the workplace and beyond, but today's victory is truly historic and worthy of celebration."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT

“This ruling reaffirms why we are the greatest, freest nation in the history of the world – because we respect every individual’s equal right to liberty, no matter where they live, who they are, or whom they love. Today will go down in history as momentous for all Americans, making our nation an even brighter beacon of hope and opportunity for all. This ruling marks a transformative moment in our nation's history, but it builds on everything before. Our gratitude goes to all whose courage and strength and struggle won this day.”

House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Vt.

“One of my proudest moments as House Speaker was standing at the podium when the House passed marriage equality. Few who sat through those debates would have foreseen today’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality for all Americans. I am tremendously happy for all those who will now have equal rights to marriage under the law.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-NY

"I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing what New York State has known for the last several years: legalizing same sex marriage is a matter of equality and justice. Today’s court ruling not only removes marriage discrimination but it also moves us as a nation forward on our journey toward forming a more perfect union. I’m proud our nation has finally embraced what so many have long held to be a basic human right and made it crystal clear: from this day forward, no one will ever be denied their constitutional right to marry."

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt

“The wall of marriage discrimination in America has finally come down. The Supreme Court affirmed today what Vermonters recognized years ago -- that the quality of love between two people is more important than their gender,” Congressman Welch said. “With this historic decision, the Court not only embraced marriage equality, but in doing so it recognized the dignity and humanity of every LGBT American. I am so proud of Vermont for leading the nation with civil unions in 2000 and for being the first state to legislate marriage equality in 2009. Congratulations to the Vermont Supreme Court, Governor Dean, Governor Shumlin and the Vermont General Assembly for having the courage to stand up for the civil rights of LGBT Vermonters.”

Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vt

“This is one of most significant moments for social justice in modern history. All loving, committed couples across this country – gay and straight, living side by side, raising their families, working and building full lives – have much to celebrate. I am deeply and personally proud that Vermonters led the way toward this long overdue decision, being the first state to pass civil unions and the first to legislatively legalize gay marriage. Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a rejection of fear, and instead an affirmation of hope and equal rights for all. The Court has closed the door on a terrible injustice by ensuring that the right to marry can no longer be denied to any gay couple simply because of where they call home.”


A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.