Big Day For Same-Sex Marriage At The Supreme Court; Rules Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

Jun 26, 2015

Credit Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Breaking:  10:10 a.m.: The Supreme Court has found in a 5-4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment grants a constitutional right to marriage for same-sex couples.  Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and he was joined by the Court's liberal wing--Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. 

The dissenting Justices have each written an opinion in opposition to the majority finding.

In the  5-4 decision, the court writes:

The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs. See, e.g., Eisenstad v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438, 453; Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 484–486. Courts must exercise reasoned judgment in identifying interests of the person so fundamental that the State must accord them its respect. History and tradition guide and discipline the inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.

Each of the dissenting Justices have written their own opinions. In his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts writes:

Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.

In 2013, the high court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which barred the federal government from recognizing married same-sex couples. Shortly after the ruling, judges began striking down state marriage bans. Florida's gay marriage ban was thrown out late last year, and unions between same-sex couples started January 6.

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