Today marks a sad day for the future of children in our nation. Natural marriage between one man and one woman expresses the reality that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad. As my husband and I raise our four children it is obvious each and every day that we bring unique gifts and roles to our family. We are not the same. Every child deserves the best chance we can give them to be raised by a married mom and dad, but today’s decision by the Supreme Court puts the governments stamp of approval on intentionally depriving children of either a mom or dad. Over the past decade, millions of Americans who recognize that reality voted to protect and honor natural marriage in their laws and state constitutions. Today, the Supreme Court stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process. The freedom to democratically address one of the most important social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The Court took that freedom from the people.

These are hard-working Americans, Virginians, who love their neighbor, regardless of the sexual preference, who care about their community, who run businesses and teach in our schools. They are our neighbors and friends; they hold no animosity toward anyone but because they believe, whether from their faith or not, that children deserve a mother and a father and that marriage is between one man and one woman they have been demonized by the secular left and too many of you in the media. They are called hateful and bigots when they are in fact the targets of hate and bigotry.

Our biggest concern with today’s decision beside the impact of intentionally denying children a mom or dad is the open season the court has created for discrimination against anyone who believes having both mom and dad is important. We have already seen the heavy hand of government coercing businesses into participating in same-sex unions, and you have to be very naive to think that religious non-profits, churches and pastors are not going to be targeted as well, something even the Obama administration admitted during oral arguments. Regardless of the assurances of Justice Kennedy that churches and pastors are safe, we know that a Supreme Court that can ignore the plain words of a law and, as Justice Scalia said, write opinions that border on a fortune cookie, those assurances are empty.   The question is, now that same-sex unions have been forced on our country, will there be tolerance for those whose faith teaches that marriage is the union of a man and a woman? We have our doubts.

Because of today’s ruling, we will continue our work to ensure that government cannot penalizes or discriminates against a citizen or institution because it believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We will continue our work in educating Virginians on the importance of natural marriage and the need children have for both a mother and a father.

Much as the Roe v. Wade decision awakened pro-life Americans, we expect this ruling will re-energize efforts to protect and uphold God’s design for marriage in our culture and our laws. The U.S. Supreme Court will not have the last word when it comes to the definition of marriage.