Asked if he would have the leadership’s support, Huelskamp pointed to a statement from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) expressing disappointment in the decisions. Boehner’s comments were less forceful than those from more conservative House Republicans, though.
Huelskamp and other tea party-backed lawmakers spoke at a monthly meeting with reporters they call “Conversations With Conservatives,” which allows the reporters to quiz some of the most ardent conservatives on issues facing Congress.
In opening remarks, Huelskamp said he was primarily concerned about how the rulings could affect American children. Decades of social-science research have “shown that every child deserves a mom and dad,” he said, adding later, “I think children will be hurt.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), an outspoken tea party member, echoed Huelskamp.
“Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted,” Bachmann said. “What the court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States.”
Ralph Reed, a leading Christian conservative and head of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, denounced the ruling as “an Orwellian act of judicial fiat” and said he will join in the effort for new legislation to replace the Defense of Marriage Act.
“We will now seek the passage of federal legislation to remedy this situation as much as possible given the parameters of the decision,” he said.
While these conservatives spoke out, other Republican opponents of same-sex marriage were notably quieter than gay-marriage supporters after the decisions were handed down Wednesday morning.
Boehner said the debate over marriage will continue and emphasized that the court’s decision is part of the process.
“While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances,” Boehner said. “A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
Not all Republicans expressed disappointment in the rulings.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who last week became the third GOP senator to endorse same-sex marriage, hailed the decision as a victory for state’s rights, noting that states will be allowed to decide the issue for themselves.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes same-sex marriage, agreed with Murkowski, telling ABC News that states should decide the issue.
“As a country, we can agree to disagree,” Paul said.
Another potential candidate in the 2016 GOP presidential race, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), said he sympathizes with the states’-rights argument. “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,” Rubio said.
Even as conservatives promised legislation to ban same-sex marriage, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, some parts of which were not challenged in the case decided Wednesday.