Bronx Officials React To SCOTUS Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage In All 50 States

It was around 1o o’clock Friday morning when the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark 5-4 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 States and territories under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. For the LGBTQ community and their supporters, it was a time for joyous celebration. For opponents, it was a shocking and disappointing development.

Bronx Congressman Jose Serrano said “today’s Supreme Court decision finally prevents states across-the-board from banning gay marriage, thus ensuring marriage equality in all 50 states.”Serrano conceded that there is still more to be done in the fight for LGBT equal rights and against discrimination, but added that “today’s ruling will allow thousands of individuals to marry and live a more full life with the person they love.”  “This is an important victory for equality.”

In a statement, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “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. Dividing people into first and second-class citizens is not only wrong, it runs contrary to who we are as a nation. Today, we are proud New Yorkers and proud Americans. Today, progress marches on.”

“Today is a historic day in the United States. The Supreme Court has made history and affirmed a basic human right today by allowing men and women to legally marry throughout this nation, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Diaz thanked the Supreme Court for having the courage to make this bold decision, and congratulated the LGBT community for their efforts in achieving marriage equality.

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz praised today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteeing equal protection under the law for all Americans by ensuring the rights of same-sex couples to marry across the nation. “For me this issue has never been about politics, it is about equality. The Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is a milestone in the fight for nationwide equality, and will be remembered for generations.”

Calling today a great day, and a historic one, Congressman Engel said, “LGBT equality is one of the defining civil rights issues of our time, and we’ve endured many years of legal and social struggle to guarantee today’s recognition of the love and commitment of our LGBT friends, family, and neighbors.” Rep. Engel recalled voting against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 and his fights to protect the equal rights of LGBT Americans. “There is still work left to do, but for today our country is unified under the banner of love, acceptance, and equality.”

State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. the borough’s most ardent opponent of gay marriage declined The Bronx Chronicle’s request for a statement.

In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” Kennedy wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were.”

Kennedy has written the opinion in significant gay rights cases and when he uttered the key sentence that same-sex couples should be able to exercise the right to marry in all states, people in the Court’s public gallery broke into smiles and some wiped tears from their eyes [reported CNN].

In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court’s “threat to American democracy.”

“The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me,” he wrote. “But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.”

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the decision had “nothing to do with the Constitution.”

“If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal,” he wrote. “Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

In recognition of this landmark decision and New York City Pride Week, the Governor has directed that the lights on One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire light up in the LGBTQ rainbow on Sunday night, June 28.

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