Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday denounced the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
"I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important, but limited role," the Florida Republican said in a news release.
"The court should not have second-guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications," Rubio said of the law that passed in 1996 with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and was signed by former President Bill Clinton.
The freshman senator and a leading contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination said he believes marriage is best defined as a union between one man and one woman, something that has traditionally been determined by state law.
While he respects America's changing attitudes toward same-sex marriage, Rubio said, he believes states should continue to have the right to determine whether or not it is legal.
"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."
"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.
"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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