U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to marry. The ruling is a historic victory for American values and ideals, as well as the gay rights activists.
The Court has ruled with a 5-4 vote that the U.S. Constitution provides legal ground and equal protection under law in relation to same-sex marriage. This means that the states cannot prohibit or ban gay marriage, which is now legal in all American states and territories.
The Supreme Court justices left this major case for last, because of the sharp division between the Justices. However, with four liberal Justices, the swing vote came from Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Kennedy has a strong record of support of gay rights and according to Reuters he wrote the Court case opinion. He wrote that the hope that gay people have for marriage “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. Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser.”
The ruling is the second most important expansion of marriage rights, after the ruling of 1967, allowing interracial marriages and a new victory after Democrat President Barack Obama allowed gays to serve openly in the military in 2010 and a Supreme Court ruling of 2013, that marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. After the ruling, according to Reuters, President Obama has stated “This ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts. When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
However, not all conservative Justices share Kennedy’s opinion and according to Reuters, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion stating that the Court has made “a threat to American democracy, because the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast is a majority of the nine lawyers of Supreme Court.” Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts also read his dissent and stated that “Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.” He thinks that the ruling will affect state laws and religious institutions. He said “Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage.”
The Court ruled on a case by plaintiff James Obergeffell, who according to Reuters has stated that “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.”
However, the disappointment was not only amongst the conservative justices. Republican Presidential candidates Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee have stated that they think this is an act of unconstitutional judicial tyranny and that marriage is defined by God and has called for Constitution amendments that will allows states to ban gay marriage. Like-minded opponents of gay marriage have said that the Bible condemns homosexuality and that it is an attack on traditional marriage between one man and one woman.
Gay marriage has gained a way of acceptance throughout the Western countries. Ireland decided on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage and move away from the Catholic Church doctrines. The referendum came following legalization in Britain, France, Spain, South Africa, Brazil and Canada. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling not only marks a great triumph for gay movements, but also paves the way for new legislation that would enforce anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation.