Same-sex marriage bans are no longer legal in America, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today.
The court assessed whether the Constitution allows states to restrict marriages to one man and one woman. It faced two questions:
Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
Today, five justices ruled yes to both. The four dissenting justices have each written their own dissent.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in Obergefell v. Hodges, concludes:
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.
In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts writes:
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
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