‘No longer may this liberty be denied; No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family; marriage is a keystone of our social order and inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. It… could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons; rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.’
(regarding children) : ‘Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers; their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.’
‘The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times;. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.’
• Anthony kennedy •
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagen, and Sonia Sotomayor join Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito issue equally voluminous (substantive and procedural), scathing dissents.
‘If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision; celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs; Just who do we think we are?’ writes John Roberts, dismissing the decision as an ‘act of will, not legal judgment, adding that ‘people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.’
‘In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent,’ writes Samuel Alito.
Antonin Scalia thinks this ruling is a ‘threat to American democracy; that ‘this opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic; of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.
‘They have discovered in the 14th Amendment a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. These justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.; Antonin Scalia continues.
‘It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process; The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry; The United States Constitution grants them that right;’ Anthony Kennedy fires back.
The high court rules 5-4 that same-sex marriage is a fundamental constitutional right for all Americans,setting a watershed precedent (Obergefell v. Hodges (576 UsSct 2015)) similar to Loving v. Virginia (388 UsSCt. 1967) (striking down state laws barring interracial marriages).
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