🙂 Same-sex marriages are now legal across the entirety of the United
States after a historic supreme court ruling that declared attempts by
conservative states to ban them unconstitutional. In what may prove the
most important civil rights case in a generation, five of the nine court
justices determined that the right to marriage equality was enshrined
under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in
the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted
against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice
John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel
The justices had
been asked to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to
a) license same-sex marriages and b) recognize such unions that were
made in other states. The Fourteenth Amendment, we’ll remind you, was
ratified shortly after the Civil War. It has to do with U.S. citizenship
– and with providing equal protection for all citizens.
Friday’s ruling, gay marriage had already been made legal in 37 states –
by either legislative or voter action or by federal courts that
overturned state’ bans.
The ruling announced Friday adds new
definition to an issue that has remained controversial even as an
increasing number of Americans say they support equal marriage rights
for same-sex couples. A recent Gallup poll found that 60 percent of
Americans – an all-time high – support extending the same rights and
privileges to same-sex marriages as traditional ones.
included “37 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 76
percent of Democrats,” as we reported last month. And it included all
age groups except for one: those 65 and over.
The court noted the change in thinking, stating:
“Well into the 20th century, many States condemned same-sex intimacy as
immoral, and homosexuality was treated as an illness. Later in the
century, cultural and political developments allowed same-sex couples to
lead more open and public lives. Extensive public and private dialogue
followed, along with shifts in public attitudes. Questions about the
legal treatment of gays and lesbians soon reached the courts, where they
could be discussed in the formal discourse of the law.”
supporters of same-sex marriage, today’s ruling comes as a long-awaited
bookend to the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling that struck down the federal
Defense of Marriage Act and required the U.S. government to provide the
same benefits to both gay and heterosexual couples.