In a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that states can no longer prevent same-sex couples from getting married and must also recognize their unions if couples move across state lines. The ruling ensures gay marriage will now be legal in all 50 states.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy asserted same-sex couples don’t denigrate the institution of marriage as some have argued, but respect it.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
President Obama called the ruling “a big step” toward equality.
Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins
— President Obama (@POTUS) June 26, 2015
Vice President Biden said today’s ruling made him proud.
All marriages at their root are about love. In America, our laws now recognize that simple truth. #LoveWins today & we couldn’t be prouder.
— Vice President Biden (@VP) June 26, 2015
Prior to the court’s ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, which linked together three other cases, same-sex marriage was banned in 13 states. Two years ago, the court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages and paved the way for today’s decision.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 26, 2015