Washington, CA — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling this morning on same-sex marriage impacts all states, including California.
In a close ruling, 5-4, the Supreme Court found the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of same-sex couples to marry. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, siding with Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Those in opposition were John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
In the decision, also referred to as Obergefell vs. Hodges, Justice Kennedy noted the courts history in rulings regarding homosexuality; “In 2003, this Court overruled its 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U. S. 186, which upheld a Georgia law that criminalized certain homosexual acts, concluding laws making same-sex intimacy a crime “demea[n] the lives of homosexual persons.” Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558, 575. In 2012, the federal Defense of Marriage Act was also struck down. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___. Numerous same-sex marriage cases reaching the federal courts and state supreme courts have added to the dialogue.”
The majority opinion states, “the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.”
Justice Roberts notes in the dissenting opinion “Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.”
The ruling takes effect immediately.
Update at 9:15am: Governor Jerry Brown has issued a statement on the ruling, saying, “With the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots this weekend, we’re reminded of how long and winding the road to equality has been. Today, our highest court has upheld a principle enshrined in our Constitution, but only now finally realized for same-sex couples across America.”