SCOTUS Finds Bans on Same-Sex Marriage to Be Unconstitutional
After more than a decade of hard-fought legal battles, advocates of same-sex marriage have finally realized their dream: on June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court made the landmark decision to recognize same-sex marriage as a fundamental, constitutional right. Now all states are required to issue marriage licenses to people of the same sex and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions.
The Obergefell vs Hodges decision came down to a 5-4 vote in favor of deeming bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy made up the majority vote. In a statement, Kennedy expressed that “no union is more profound than marriage” and that same-sex couples only “ask for dignity in the eyes of the law.”
Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas, provided dissenting opinions. Thomas argued, “Liberty is only freedom from governmental action, not an entitlement to governmental benefits.” Roberts criticized the majority for practicing “activism” and for not letting states determine their own stances on same-sex marriage.
While everyone may have different opinions about the merits of the decision, one fact is indisputable: this is a decision that will go down in history. Also, the timing of the ruling is significant. Twelve years ago on June 26, the Supreme Court overturned Texas’ sodomy ban, effectively legalizing homosexuality in the whole nation. And on the same date in 2013, the Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing same-sex couples to access more than 1,000 federal benefits.
Attorney Jeffrey Knipmeyer and his associates at Nottage and Ward, LLP are glad that same-sex couples across the nation have finally secured equal marriage rights, thanks to the pivotal decision by SCOTUS. For many years, we have provided personalized LGBT family law services to the lesbian and gay community and will continue to support them with their legal needs. If you have any questions regarding your same-sex marriage, feel free to call us at (312) 332-2915.
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