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“This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country,” Mr. Huelskamp said in a statement. “Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions, and as a result, I plan to introduce the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) to amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

The silver lining for conservatives was that the high court left intact the DOMA measures now on the books in 30 states by stopping short of declaring such definitions unconstitutional.

“The only other saving grace of the Supreme Court’s decision today is that they refused to go along with the urgings of [attorneys] Ted Olsen and David Boies to find a constitutional right to same-sex marriage,” Mr. Brown said.