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2016 Candidates React to Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Ruling

Chuck Todd: How Will GOP Candidates Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Ruling? 1:38

The Supreme Court's landmark decision that all states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples prompted a flood of responses on Friday morning, including from those eyeing the White House in 2016.

Reaction from the presidential hopefuls poured in almost immediately after the decision was announced.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton tweeted just moments after the news broke that she's proud to celebrate the "historic victory."

Her fellow Democrat Martin O'Malley said in a statement: "Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that marriage is a human right - not a state right. I'm grateful to the people of Maryland for leading the way on this important issue of human dignity and equality under the law. The American Dream is strongest when all are included."

And another Clinton rival for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrote that "this decision is a victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights. For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people."

Republican 2016 candidates slammed the decision, with reactions ranging from dire warnings about the future of religious liberty to calls for mutual respect.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wrote that he believes that the court should have left the matter to the states but that Americans should also "respect" each other while also protecting religious freedom.

Pete Williams: SCOTUS Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage 'Not a Big Surprise' 1:59

"In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side," he said. "It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate."

Republican presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, said in a lengthy statement that the decision "will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision."

"The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states' rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that," Jindal said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another staunch social conservative, said the ruling will prove to be "one of the court's most disastrous opinions."

"I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch," Huckabee said. "We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum tweeted:

He added in a statement: "Now is the people's opportunity respond because the future of the institution of marriage is too important to not have a public debate. The Court is one of three co-equal branches of government and, just as they have in cases from Dred Scott to Plessy, the Court has an imperfect track record."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who said he will make a 2016 announcement next month, said, "As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called himself "a proud defender of traditional marriage," but threw cold water on the prospects of a Constitutional Amendment.

"Given the quickly changing tide of public opinion on this issue, I do not believe that an attempt to amend the U.S. Constitution could possibly gain the support of three-fourths of the states or a supermajority in the U.S. Congress," he said.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said, "This is only the latest example of an activist Court ignoring its constitutional duty to say what the law is and not what the law should be."

Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson took a slightly different tone than many of his GOP colleagues. "While I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision, their ruling is now the law of the land," he said.

He added that he supports same-sex civil unions, but "to me, and millions like me, marriage is a religious service not a government form.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said, "This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years. While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law. As we look ahead, it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood."

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he is disappointed with the ruling and pledged to "appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, "I agree with Justice - Chief Justice Roberts. As you know, that this is something that should be decided by the people and not by, I think he called them, five lawyers. I agree with that, I've said that before as to our Supreme Court. That this is something that shouldn't be decided by a group of lawyers, but should be decided by the people."