U.S. Supreme Court Legalizes Same Sex Unions

In a historic move, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that it is a legal right for all Americans to marry the ones they love regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The ruling is a landmark move that has been gaining traction for years. Gay rights activists have been paving the way for marriage equality in the lower courts and prior to this ruling, 37 of the 50 states in the U.S. have already recognized same sex unions. The growing public support for same sex partnerships culminated in a 5 – 4 ruling on June 26, 2015 in favor of marriage equality.

The 5 Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality steeped their arguments in the 14th amendment. The Justices stated that each state needs to issue marriage licenses and recognize same sex unions that have taken place in other states. The 5 Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of the historic decision were Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. The 4 Justices who spoke in dissent were Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito

The 5 Justices who supported the majority decision cited several reasons to justify same sex marriage. Part of the chief arguments was the right of gay Americans to have “intimate association(s)” that extend beyond being free of laws that criminalize homosexuality. The 5 justices also stated that the importance of personal autonomy was involved in the act of marriage given the fact that “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make. The 14th amendment played a great role in influencing the ruling. The clauses involving equal protection and due process were cited to back up the right of same-sex couples to wed.

Each of the dissenting judges issued separate statements. The 4 dissenting judges were unified in the belief that the constitution did not endorse same sex unions. Historically, the views surrounding same sex unions have transformed drastically beginning 2004 when Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay couples to wed. The cultural attitude surrounding same sex unions continued to change rapidly and in 2012, President Barack Obama became the first President in office to publicly support marriage equality. The Supreme Court of the United States ruling has been, arguably, the biggest victory for gay rights activists in history.

Legal assistance surrounding statutes, court decisions, and provisions of the federal and state constitution as it relates to family relationships, rights, duties, and finances require the assistance of a capable team of lawyers. If you or someone you know needs legal counsel regarding these issues, please contact the attorneys at Lyttle Law Firm in Austin, Texas by visiting our website or calling us today at 512-215-5225.