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Marco Rubio: 'The Supreme Court Made a Serious Mistake Today'

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., weighed in on Wednesday after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. Rubio, who is a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, expressed his opposition to the decision in a statement released early Wednesday afternoon.

I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important but limited role, Rubio said. I do not believe that President Clinton and overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress acted with malice or intent to demean a class of people when they adopted a uniform definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law. The court should not have second-guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications. The sweeping language of todays majority opinion is more troubling than the ruling itself as it points to further interference by the court in the years to come.

I recognize that the definition of marriage and the legal status of same-sex relationships is a deeply personal and emotional issue for Americans of a variety of viewpoints. These types of disagreements should be settled through the democratic process, as the founders intended, not through litigation and court pronouncements, Rubio continued. For millions of Americans, the definition of marriage is not an abstract political question, or some remote legal debate. Its a deeply personal issue. Its an issue that I have grappled with as well.

I believe that marriage is a unique historical institution best defined as the union between one man and one woman, Rubio said. In the U.S., marriage has traditionally been defined by state law, and I believe each state, acting through their elected representatives or the ballot, should decide their own definition of marriage. For the purposes of federal law, however, Congress had every right to adopt a uniform definition and I regret that the Supreme Court would interfere with that determination.

I appreciate that many Americans attitudes toward same-sex marriage have changed in recent years, Rubio added. I respect the rights of states to allow same-sex marriages, even though I disagree with them. But I also expect that the decisions made by states like Florida to define marriage as between one man and one woman will also be respected.

I do not believe there exists a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Therefore, I am glad the Supreme Court did not create one in the Proposition 8 case, Rubio said. Rather than having courts redefine marriage for all Americans, my hope is that the American people, through their state legislatures and referendums, can continue to decide the definition of marriage. It is through debates like this that the brilliance of our constitutional system of democracy, and the inherent goodness of our people, is revealed.

My hope is that those of us who believe in the sanctity and uniqueness of traditional marriage will continue to argue for its protection in a way that is respectful to the millions of American sons and daughters who are gay, Rubio said in conclusion. It is also my hope that those who argue for the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex marriage will refrain from assailing the millions of Americans who disagree with them as bigots.

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