Thursday, June 26, 2015, will be remembered as an historic day for the United States of America. By a slim margin of votes, 5 to 4 to be precise, the country has joined the ranks of 20 other nations who have already embraced the legalization of same-sex marriage. The ruling guarantees that the Constitution of the United States provides the right to same-sex marriage for all.
The much anticipated change in our law is due in part to Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the decision and voted for its passage, increasing the vote to a majority. He wrote that marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” and that the ruling finds that gay individuals now have “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”
The Supreme Court’s other four liberal minded judges, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan all voted in favor of the law and joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion.
The four additional judges on the court who opposed the law each wrote a dissent, criticizing and scrutinizing the law. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John G. Roberts Jr. in his dissent wrote that the Constitution of the United States did not have anything to say on the topic of gay marriage.
In his scathing dissent he wrote, “The court invalidated 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 . . . Just who we think we are?” He further went on to say that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today” implying that the supporters of same-sex marriages are considered by him to be faithless.
Judge Antonin Scalia, in a second and bitter dissent criticized Justice Kennedy’s language as “pretentious as its content” and “profoundly incoherent.” His dissent directly called the ruling a “threat to American democracy.”
Despite the negativity, celebrations ensued across the country from New York to Washington to Miami and California, as the law was announced. People took to the streets with flags and tears, chanting the catchy phrase “Love Wins!”
The lead plaintiff from Ohio, Jim Obergefell spoke to the nation, through his tears of joy. Holding a photo of his husband and partner for 20 years, John Arthur, who died in 2013, he said “This is for you John.” Shortly after the ruling, Mr. Obergefell and was personally called on his cell phone by President Barak Obama. While the nation listened to his words of congratulations, the President told Mr. Obergefell that his leadership has “changed the country.”
Later, President Obama spoke from the rose Garden. His words affirmed the significance of the law. He stated, “Today we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”
To millions of gay, lesbian and trans-gendered people this law validates their equality as well as proving that the United States refuses to allow discrimination of any kind.
For the countless number of immigrants in the United States, this ruling will result in the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recognizing same-sex marriage from all of the States and thus citizen partners of undocumented immigrants do not have to travel to certain states to legitimize their marriage.