Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against bans on same sex marriage in a close 5-4 decision. The court determined that states cannot forbid same sex couples the marriage equality rights enjoyed by heterosexuals. Some 13 states now ban such marriages.
Couples from around the country responded by applying for marriage licenses with state officials saying they would respect the court’s ruling.
President Obama hailed the decision. “This ruling is a victory for America,” said the president. He continued, “This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
James Obergefell, whose suit brought the case before the court said, “Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts – our love is equal, that the four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court – equal justice under law – apply to us, too.”
Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride at Work, the AFL-CIO’s constituency group said, “Today’s momentous victory in the Supreme Court has affirmed what we already knew – the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law and that includes the right to marry for same-sex couples. We are ecstatic that this ruling will finally deliver equality and justice to families in every state of our great nation. We hope the states will move quickly to implement this ruling.”
Liz Shuler, secretary treasurer of labor federation remarked “Today’s Supreme Court decision marks a truly historic day in America. While there is still work to do to secure economic and social justice for LGBT Americans, the court’s ruling is a major victory for everyone who believes in equality.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the Court’s majority, saying “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.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights also hailed the decision, writing, “This is a transformative day in American history. Today is the day that our nation’s highest court acknowledged the full dignity of LGBT Americans to love and build a family as equals in our society.”
The Obama administration urged the Justices to rule in favor of the plaintiffs. The U.S. now joins two dozen other nations in legalizing the right of LGBTQ people to marry.
Photo: In July of 2013, Officiant Paulette Roberts, center, marries James Obergefell, left, and Lon-time partner John Arthur, who was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, aboard a plane at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in Maryland. Arthur died Oct 22, 2013. Glenn Hartong / Associated Press