It is all over the news that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges has legalized same-sex marriage across our nation. Prior to this 5-4 decision, approximately three dozen states, including Florida, allowed same-sex marriages. Now the LGBT rights movement is celebrating this victory everywhere.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the Court’s majority opinion, which was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. He stated that “No longer may this liberty be denied.” To avoid any confusion, he clearly stated that “The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”
The result of the Supreme Court’s decision is that any bans on same-sex marriage in the fourteen states that had them will come to an end. It is also serving as the catalyst for many significant changes in our country’s social norms.
In strong support of the Court’s decision, President Barack Obama called it “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
As with every story, however, there are two sides. Four of the Justices – Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas – dissented from the Court’s opinion. They alleged that the majority opinion usurped the power that belonged to the individual states and the voters.
“This court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent. Roberts read a summary of his dissent from the bench, the first time he has done so in nearly 10 years as chief justice.
According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, an entity that tracks the demographics of gay and lesbians, there is an estimated 390,000 married same-sex couples in the United States. Further, approximately 70,000 same-sex couples are living in states that have banned same-sex marriage, until now.
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