First Published: June 2015
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.

Gay Marriage declared legal across the whole of the USA in a landmark Supreme Court ruling

Same-sex marriages are now legal across the whole of the USA in a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. The long awaited 5-4 decision ruled that conservative states who wanted to keep bans on same-sex marriage were acting unconstitutionally. The Supreme Court judges' decision was described by President Barack Obama as 'justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.' Here is reaction in full:

The decision means that all US states now have to allow same-sex marriages to take place and also recognise marriages from other states and other countries. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy explained why he voted to strike down the ban on same-sex couples marrying: 'They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.'

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. Marriage is a keystone of our social order, Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking equal dignity in the eyes of the law.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. dissented in the decision and said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.

If you are among the many Americans of whatever sexual orientation who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision, Chief Justice Roberts wrote. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

There were signs of jubilation around the steps of the Supreme Court and the White House was lit in the colours of the rainbow flag.

Most commentators see this as a landmark ruling. Although gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia, this 5-4 ruling in the Supreme Court means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage and also recognise same-sex marriage lawfully enter into elsewhere in the USA and around the world.

Even Republican Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush recognised that the battle to ban gay marriage is now lost: '... we should love our neighbour and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.'


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