Today, Friday June 26, the Supreme Court has finally announced its marriage equality ruling: Marriage is now a guaranteed civil right in all 50 states.
This landmark ruling establishes that the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees all U.S. citizens equal rights and protections under the law, also guarantees all citizens the right to marry. States will now be legally required to issue marriage to all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The U.S. is now the 22nd nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s been a long, hard fight, and this is a hugely historic moment.
The official opinions (103 pages of them) of the case (Obergfell v. Hodges) have been released and the decision was 5 to 4 in favor of same-sex marriages.
The majority's opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy states that marriage rights are "at the center of so many facets of the legal and social order" and that "there is no difference between same and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle." He also said that "their exclusion" from the institution denies same-sex couples "the constellation of benefits" that are linked with marriage in our country.
The five justices to rule in favor include Justices Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Stephen G. Breyer and Justice Elena Kagan. The four opposed: Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
The majority opinion closes saying that "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 delivered his remarks from the White House lawn shortly following the ruling, here's a few moments from his touching address:
People are already beginning to celebrate in the streets in cities throughout the U.S. -- get out there and join them!