In a 5-4 majority decision, the Supreme Court made it legal for same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states. Prior to this decision, only 37 states permitted same-sex marriage. Following this decision, the 14 states with bans on same-sex marriage will no longer be able to enforce them. It has been reported that same-sex couples in the affected states including Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Texas rushed to get married on Friday 26th June.
President Barack Obama has said the ruling was a ‘victory for America’ and tweeted that day stating ‘Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins’.
Justice Anthony Kennedy in delivering his opinion for the majority stated that the right to marry was ‘based on history, tradition and other constitutional liberties inherent in this intimate bond’. Although many were delighted, the Supreme Court decision has also angered many opponents of gay marriage.
The case considered by the Supreme Court concerned Mr Obergefell, who lived in Ohio, and was not recognised as the legal widower of his late husband. In recent years, a number of legal rulings and a dramatic shift in public opinion has expanded gay marriage in the United States and this decision reinforces this shift in opinion.