The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that the Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex. States must also recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed in another state, according to SCOTUSblog.
Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the majority and read the decision from the bench. Dissenting were Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas.
“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Kennedy wrote
SCOTUSblog quotes further from the opinion:
“It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality . . . Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them. And the Equal Protection Clause, like the Due Process Clause, prohibits this unjustified infringement of the fundamental right to marry.”
The decision means that states can no longer ban gay marriage. It reverses a previous decision by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which upheld state bans and said the matter should be decided by legislatures, not the courts.
Scalia wrote that the decision shows the Supreme Court is a threat to democracy.
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,” Scalia said.
President Obama makes a statement on the ruling at 11:00 am ET.