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In its June 26, 2015, 5-4 landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court declared that the fundamental right to marry extends to same-sex couples, making same-sex marriage legal nationwide. The Court held that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the United States Constitution, and that states must recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated:
“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. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea 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.”
To read the Court’s entire opinion, along with the dissenting Justices’ comments, click here.