Same-sex couples have a Constitutional right to marry, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday, ending decades of emotional and divisive wrangling over gay rights and echoing a transformational shift in American public attitudes.
President Barack Obama, whose personal stance has also changed dramatically from avowed opposition to staunch support of gay marriage, called the 5-4 ruling, “a victory for America” that shows “what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.”
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.
We’re going to wrap our live coverage of the historic supreme court decision and the many consequences and reactions thereof – as legal same-sex marriages continue to be issued for the first time in many states around the country.
The supreme court ruled in a 5-4 decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, striking down state bans and declaring that the constitution protects the right to marry for couples of the same sex.
“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
Most of the 14 states that had retained bans on same-sex marriage acquiesced to the court’s ruling, and clerks began issuing licenses to happy couples in Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee, Missouri, South Dakota and Florida. The attorney generals of Texas and Louisiana signaled they would try to resist or delay the ruling, but most acknowledged the court’s decision as “the law of the land”.
Thousands gathered to celebrate the decision and marriages around the country, including at New York’s historic Stonewall Inn. ” It was all worth fighting for”, one supporter told the Guardian, as lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell declared from the steps of the supreme court that the decision ” affirms that millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts: our love is equal.”