The U.S. Supreme Court issued two rulings today dealing with same-sex marriage.
Here’s what Virginia politicians have said — posted in the order we’ve received them (and we’ll update as we get more.)
* Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for governor:
“I applaud the Supreme Court for their decision today because everyone should be treated equally. While I support marriage equality, I understand that this is an issue that Virginians of goodwill come down on both sides of. This decision moves our nation in the right direction, but there is more to be done to ensure we have equality for all.
“My opponent has spent his career putting up walls around Virginia and telling gay Virginians that they’re not welcome. He even went so far as to order public colleges and universities to remove protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation for faculty and students. We must make Virginia the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family, and there is no place in our future for intolerance or discriminatory rhetoric.”
* Ralph Northam, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor:
“I applaud the Supreme Court for ruling in favor of marriage equality and for seeing the Defense of Marriage Act for what it is: a divisive policy that unjustly discriminates against millions of Americans. I am running to put a stop to the divisive agenda that has been a roadblock to progress here in Virginia, and as Lieutenant Governor I will work to further the cause of equality because discrimination has no place in our Commonwealth.”
* Democratic Party of Virginia:
“I’m pleased with today’s decision,” said DPVA Chair Delegate Charniele Herring. “DOMA was truly an unjust law that contradicted the American belief that all people are created equal.
“I am hopeful that the Court’s decision will continue the great progress we’ve made toward fairness and that we continue to expand equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.”
* Mark Herring, Democratic candidate for attorney general:
“This is a historic day and I am pleased by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Today’s decision moves us closer to a more equal and inclusive society. All Americans deserve equal protection under the law, regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
“Unfortunately, Mark Obenshain continues to oppose marriage equality and has consistently opposed efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation in our state government. When it comes to equality, Mark Obenshain, like his ticket mates Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, is far outside the mainstream.
“As Attorney General, I will protect the civil rights of all Virginians and use the powers of the office to promote equality while we work to change Virginia’s current law which prohibits same-sex marriage.”
Observation: You’ll notice so far we’ve heard only from the Democrats; no word from any of the Republicans yet. If that changes, we’ll let you know.
Update,12:04 p.m.: We’ve now heard from our first Republican:
* Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County:
“I firmly believe that preserving the institution of traditional marriage is crucial to the stability of our society and serves the best interest of American families. I am disappointed and troubled that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which overwhelmingly passed the House and the Senate in 1996 and was signed into law by President Clinton. Today’s decision is certainly a setback for the traditional values that make up the backbone of our country.
* Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.:
“Today’s Supreme Court decisions are an enormous victory for thousands of committed couples and their families across the country and a major step toward marriage equality. In ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the Court has affirmed the principle that every legally married couple has the same right to equal benefits and responsibilities. I stand with same-sex couples and their loved ones in applauding the decision to affirm the equal treatment of all married couples under the law.”
* Ken Cuccinelli, attorney general and Republican candidate for governor:
“Virginia has followed the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman for more than 400 years, and Virginians voted overwhelmingly to add this traditional definition to their constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision in California’s Proposition 8 case could have had implications for all states with marriage laws similar to California’s. As the attorney general’s legal duty is to vigorously defend Virginia’s laws when they are challenged, he filed a brief with the Supreme Court in conjunction with several other states in the California case and used every available legal argument to defend Virginia’s Constitution and preserve the will of the citizens of the commonwealth.
“Today, the court’s two decisions on marriage make clear that the rulings have no effect on the Virginia Marriage Amendment or to any other Virginia law related to marriage.
“Consistent with the duties of the attorney general, this office will continue to defend challenges to the constitution and the laws of Virginia.”
* Well, turns out that Cuccinelli has two statements. The one above was issued by the attorney general’s office; this one comes from Cuccinelli’s gubernatorial campaign:
“Ken Cuccinelli has always believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Going forward, he will continue to defend the will of the people of Virginia, an overwhelming majority of whom voted to protect the definition of traditional marriage under Virginia’s Constitution. Ken’s consistency and clarity on this matter stands in stark contrast to Terry McAuliffe who is eager to attack the attorney general without taking a position himself. Trying to pin down Terry McAuliffe on this issue—just like so many other issues—is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.” – Dave Rexrode, Campaign Manager
* Robert Sarvis, Libertarian candidate for governor:
Same-sex marriage recognition is a key component of the Sarvis campaign’s vision for Virginia: Open-minded and Open for Business.
Sarvis cites his own personal story, and the history of the Loving v. Virginia case, in which Virginians Mildred and Richard Loving fought for and won recognition of interracial marriage, as crucial to his decision to fight for this issue, this year, in Virginia.
“My marriage was once illegal in Virginia,” he points out.
“It’s imperative that we build on the momentum of today’s Supreme Court decision. This year’s race for governor in Virginia will be America’s most-watched political contest, and I’m committed to making sure supporters of same-sex marriage have a confident voice in what will be the first major election after today’s DOMA decision.”
Sarvis contrasted his strong stance with his those of his opponents.
“Ken Cuccinelli talks a lot about ‘personal freedom,’ but he has no problem with using government to impede social changes and to meddle in the most personal of decisions: deciding whom to marry.
“And while Terry McAuliffe launched a fundraising email blast to same-sex marriage supporters right after the ruling, he admitted to a NoVa tech audience last week that ‘it’s not an issue that I’m going to spend my time focusing on.’”
Libertarian Robert Sarvis says he is the only candidate in a position to work with every legislator in both houses in Richmond to move Virginia forward.