Surpreme Court Rules in Favor of Nationwide Recognition of Gay Marriage

June 26 saw the U.S. Supreme Court hand down another in a string of highly-publicized rulings, this time declaring same-sex marriage to be permissible under the constitution, and thus legal in all 50 states.

The 5-4 decision appears to be the penultimate victory for those pushing for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples which began in 2003 with the Supreme Court throwing out state laws which banned gay sex. The very next year, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to recognize gay marriage.

President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton both were quick to express their support for the decision; the latter tweeting she was “proud to celebrate a historic victory for marriage equality.”

Judicial Affirmation & Dissent

Writing on behalf of the court, Justice Anthony Kennedy, a 1988 Reagan appointee, remarked gays will not be “condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.” Kennedy, a conservative, voted along with the court’s four liberal justices in the ruling.

Likewise, dissenting justices voiced their disapproval with the ruling; Chief Justice John Roberts saying the Supreme Court should not have the prerogative to push states to change their own marriage laws. Roberts also articulated concerns for those who disagree on religious grounds, “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.”

Another conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia went further in his disagreement, saying the court itself is a “threat to American democracy” in that the ruling “says that my ruler and the ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”

The trend appears to be not just nationwide but around the world as more countries move to recognize same-sex marriage, whether by judicial fiat or by popular vote. Just last month, Ireland votered overwhelmingly to approve same-sex marriage; a decision all the more significant given the country’s strong Roman Catholic traditions.

Similarly, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Britain, France, and Spain allow for gay marriage while it remains largely forbidden in huge swaths of Asia and Africa.

Several states are considering ways of challenging the ruling, but the Supreme Court has at last handed down its opinion which had been anticipated for several months.

To learn how this recent decision could affect you, speak with our St. Louis and St. Charles family law attorneys and put our experience behind you. Call today for a no-cost case evaluation.