In a historic development for gay rights and the institution of marriage, the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. The 5-4 ruling declares the 14th Amendment requires all states to perform same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
State Representative Mike Sparks of Smyrna says he's not surprised by the Supreme Court ruling. He adds Tennesseans overwhelmingly supported a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage...
Sparks adds now five unelected judges have now chosen to override the wishes of the majority of Tennesseans. He calls it a sign of the times...
The Supreme Court ruling extends marriage rights to gay couples in the 14 remaining states where same-sex marriage was previously prohibited, including Tennessee. It also validates lower-court rulings in 20 states where marriage bans were struck down by federal judges.
CBS News contributed to this story
STATEMENTS FROM OTHER STATE LEADERS:
Gov. Bill Haslam:
"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."
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker:
"Although I support the ability of our citizens to define marriage in Tennessee, the Court has ruled that states must grant same-sex marriages, and going forward, I hope we continue to ensure the religious beliefs of all Americans are respected."
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes:
"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."
Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini:
"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."
David Fowler, the President of The Family Action Council of Tennessee:
"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. The majority have arrogantly said they are not only smarter than the 50 million Americans who have voted to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but also millions of human beings over thousands of years across the entire globe."