The crowd celebrates outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US.

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Supreme Court overturns bans on same-sex marriage

Reactions from public officials and advocacy groups on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down bans on same-sex marriage have been swift.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke

On Twitter, the mayor quoted Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family," followed by the hashtag #LoveWins.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said that "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."

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called the decision "an unfortunate and fundamentally wrong opinion. In 2006, not even a decade ago, over 80 percent of Tennessee voters issued a strong mandate in favor of traditional marriage. Today, the Supreme Court declared that mandate null and void."

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery

"Today's United States Supreme Court decision not only changes the definition of marriage, but takes from 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 dissappointing

The Court, nevertheless, has spoken and we respect its decision.

Our office is prepared to work with the governor and the Federal Assembly, as needed, to take the necessary steps to implement the decision."

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles said, "A public official in many instances may hold a different view regarding laws and court actions. Ours is an administrative office, and legal sources advise we don't have the ability to choose which duties to perform."

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said, "While I believe that this issue should be decided by the states and by legislatures, not the federal judiciary, I also believe in the rule of law. The state of Georgia is subject to the laws of the United States, and we will follow them."

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Mancini said that "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."


Read the Supreme Court's opinion overturning bans on gay marriage


Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes said, "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."

Georgia Democratic Party Chairman DuBose Porter

"Today is a huge victory not only for advocates of marriage equality, but advocates of basic civil rights. This decision is the culmination of decades' worth of battles fought to ensure that all families and the love they share are protected and treated equally under the law.

 "While we have plenty of reason to celebrate, we still have work to do in Georgia. Until we have employment non-discrimination legislation on the books, LGBT workers can be fired just for being who they are. Our cities and counties have led the way on this issue, but the state remains on the wrong side of history. Love should never be a fireable offense, and I encourage state leaders to work together to forge a more equal and just Georgia."

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange acknowledged the ruling was now the law of the land, but said he expected "the focus will now turn to the exercise of one's religious liberty. I will continue to defend the religious liberties of Alabamians and ensure that people and businesses honoring their religious beliefs are protected."

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution "does not permit bans on same-sex marriage. In our system of government, the Supreme Court bears the ultimate responsibility for determining the constitutionality of our laws. Once the Supreme Court has ruled, its order is the law of the land. As such, Georgia will follow the law and adhere to the ruling of the Court."

Tennessee Equality Project

The Tennessee Equality Project said "we celebrate today's Supreme Court ruling striking down state bans on the marriages of same-gender couples" and called on state government and Tennessee's 95 county clerks, who issue marriage licenses, to stop enforcing the ban. "There is no legal authority for denying or delaying equal protection of the law for these couples," the statement said.

Focus on the Family's Jim Daly

Jim Daly with Focus on the Family said that "although this result was predicted by many observers, the action of the Court is nonetheless startling in its rejection of a societal understanding of marriage that goes back to the dawn of civilization. Ultimately, however, no court can change the eternal truth that marriage is, and always has been, between a man and a woman."

Tennessee Pastors Network

The president of the Tennessee Pastors Network said the same-sex marriage ruling "puts churches and pastors in a difficult position." By declaring marriage a fundamental right, the Supreme Court is "stripping states and voters of their rights to make their own marriage decisions," said TPN President Dale Walters.

"This landmark decision had deep biblical, historical and constitutional roots, and unfortunately, our justices chose to redefine marriage for the entire nation, ignoring other constitutional rights and opening the door to a dangerous infringement on religious liberties," Walker said.

"The fact that this issue even made it to the Supreme Court of the United States was an indictment against American Christians and against American churches. Even though some churches have sought to blend into the culture rather than change it, this ruling serves as a wake-up call for pastors and churches who are committed to being the salt and light of our society and standing up for truth."

Hedy Weinberg, Tennessee ACLU executive director

Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, said "We applaud the governor and the attorney general for ensuring that government offices in Tennessee implement the Supreme Court's ruling swiftly. Committed, same-sex couples in Tennessee have waited long enough to enjoy the dignity and protections of marriage. Today's ruling and its prompt implementation will bring great joy to the thousands of Tennessee families who just want to be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else."

Former Tennessee Sen. David Fowler

Former Tennessee Sen. David Fowler, now with the Family Action Council of Tennessee, said that "today a handful of Americans on the Court have stripped the people of the freedom to democratically address the meaning and role of society's most fundamental institution, marriage. He predicted that "when people begin to experience the effects of this ruling in ways they never envisioned, the Court may find that it has only awakened a slumbering giant."

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn.

"Love and equality win. I'm glad the Supreme Court ruled on the right side of history."

Tennessee Rep.  Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro

Tennessee state Rep. Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, said they are drafting a "Tennessee Pastor Protection Act." Terry said the intent is to "protect all religious clergy from performing same-sex marriages, as well as providing legal protection from being forced to perform same-sex marriages on church property."

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