“Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations.”
— From Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion in OBERGEFELL v. HODGES
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court held that the 14th Amendment requires states to license a marriage between people of the same sex, and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.
“The fundamental liberties protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs,” Kennedy wrote. “When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.”
Kennedy cited as precedent Loving v. Virginia, in which the court invalidated bans on interracial unions, and Turner v. Safley which held that prisoners could not be denied the right to marry.
Concurring with the opinion delivered by Kennedy were justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Dissenting opinions were filed by Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr., and justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Anthony Alito Jr.
A PDF of the opinion can be found on the Supreme Court’s website.
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