The Supreme Court delivered a historic win for gay rights today, ruling that same-sex marriage be legal nationwide. The decision was 5-4.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote in the majority opinion, said that he believed that all homosexual couples have a fundamental right to legal marriage in the courts. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
Justice Kennedy acknowledged the LGBT community’s plea for marriage, saying that he understands their desire for marriage is out of respect for the concept 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,” he said.
Four of the court’s members, including Justice Clarence Thomas, opposed the decision.
Prior to today’s ruling, the number of states that allowed same sex marriage grew from as little as a handful to 36 states. Now, it is mandated that the 13 states that prohibited same sex marriage reverse their bans.
President Obama celebrated the decision, calling it “a victory for America.”
“This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are truly treated as equal, we are more free,” he said.