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"Mike" Miller after signing a same-sex marriage bill.

The law was challenged, but voters approved marriage equality in a November 2012 referendum. Chris Gregoire celebrates after signing marriage-equality legislation into law.

Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal," he wrote. Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters flooded the plaza and sidewalk in front of the Court to celebrate the ruling, proudly waving rainbow flags and banners with the Human Rights Campaign's equal sign, which have come to represent the gay rights movement.

"Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. In an emotional moment, the supporters sang the National Anthem, clapping wildly after singing that the U. is "the land of the free."The decision affirmed growing public support in the U. for gay marriage, with about two-thirds of Americans now in favor.

Candidates running closer to the center, including former Florida Gov. Lindsey Graham, issued tightly-parsed language urging their colleagues to focus on protecting "religious freedom". John Kasich urged Republicans to respect the ruling and ditch the matter altogether.

"In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.

A federal appeals court had previously ruled in favor of the state bans, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the Sixth Circuit U. Court of Appeals writing a majority opinion in line with the rationale that the issue should be decided through the political process, not the courts.

Fourteen couples and two widowers challenged the bans.

"If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate," Bush said in his statement. Mike Huckabee, said that conservatives must stand and fight by seeking a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.But conservative firebrands, including Louisiana Gov. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "proud" of the ruling and former Maryland Gov.Attorneys Mary Bonauto and Doug Hallward-Driemeier presented their case before the Court, arguing that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right for all people and should not be left to popular vote."Gay and lesbian people are equal," Solicitor General Donald B. told the justices at the oral arguments earlier this year."It is simply untenable -- untenable -- to suggest that they can be denied the right of equal participation in an institution of marriage, or that they can be required to wait until the majority decides that it is ready to treat gay and lesbian people as equals.

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