Historic Decision: Supreme Court Declares Same-Sex Marriage Legal In All 50 States


Editor’s Note: We at CLN are ecstatic about this decision because we believe that the right to marry is a basic human right that should be afforded all human beings regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation. We consider this decision a big win for human rights. 

Video Source: Ferdi Mokul

by Bill Chappell | NPR

States cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that for months has been the focus of speculation. The decision was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion. All four justices who voted against the ruling wrote their own dissenting opinions: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” Kennedy wrote of same-sex couples in the case. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

Comparing the ruling to other landmark decisions, NPR’s Nina Totenberg says, “This is probably right up there with Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade — if you like it or hate it — and today, Obergefell v. Hodges. This was a historic moment.”

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET: ‘Our Love Is Equal,’ Obergefell Says

Today’s ruling “affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in their hearts: our love is equal,” says lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell, who challenged Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Obergefell continued, “the four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court — ‘equal justice under law’ — apply to us, too.”

He filed suit because he wasn’t allowed to put his name on his late husband John Arthur’s death certificate after Arthur died from ALS. Holding a photograph of Arthur as he spoke today, Obergefell said, “No American should have to suffer that indignity.”

Obergefell has been traveling from Cincinnati to Washington every week, to be sure he would be in the court when a decision was announced in his case.

Update at 11:15 a.m. ET: ‘Like A Thunderbolt,’ Obama Says

Speaking at the White House, President Obama praises the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying it arrived “like a thunderbolt” after a series of back-and-forth battles over same-sex marriage.

Obama says the ruling “will strengthen all of our communities” by offering dignity and equal status to all same-sex couples and their families.

The president calls the ruling “a victory for America.”

Update at 10:37 a.m. ET: More On The Ruling, And Obama’s Reaction

“The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society,” Kennedy wrote. His opinion sketches a history of how ideas of marriage have evolved along with the changing roles and legal status of women.

Comparing that evolution to society’s views of gays and lesbians, Kennedy noted that for years, “a truthful declaration by same-sex couples of what was in their hearts had to remain unspoken.”

“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” Kennedy wrote after recounting the legal struggles faced by same-sex partners.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE (including embed of the actual 100 page decision document)

Gay Couple Gets Married One Day After Same-Sex Marriage Ban Calling It ‘A Dream Come True’

History was made in Flathead County on Thursday morning as two Kalispell gay men were legally married in Justice Court.

One day after a federal judge tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, John Blanchard, 54, and Shawn Sharp, 35, arrived at the Flathead County Courthouse at 8 a.m. sharp Thursday to apply for and receive their marriage license.

Later Thursday morning, they became the first same-sex couple to be married in Flathead County. Kalispell attorney Eric Hummel presided over the ceremony since the justices were at a conference.

montana gay couple rings “I figured it was going to drag out for years, since it is Montana,” Blanchard said. “This blew me away.”

The couple wore rings they gave each other at a private ceremony at Blanchard’s home in September.

“There’s a lot of vain people out there,” Sharp said. “I’d almost given up, and then I met John.

“This is a dream come true for me.”

The couple showed off their official marriage license as well as a heartfelt note from a stranger. Blanchard and Sharp were handed a small piece of paper with a rainbow-colored heart drawn in crayon on the front.

“Love is love. Congratulations to you on this wonderful day” read a note on the back of the card.

“For us, it’s really special that we get to have something that everyone else has,” Sharp said.

The pair met online and have been together since August. They previously looked into getting married in Las Vegas and a friend suggested they drive over to Idaho to get married there.

“Our love for each other is there,” Blanchard said. “We’re happy to finally have a legal paper to show we are who we are.”

Blanchard, 54, recalled times in the past when strangers would drive by his home and yell gay slurs at him and his partner. “We’re still just people. We’re not any different than anyone else.”

He also said there aren’t many gay men that are out in this area, noting that a lot of gay men in Montana tend to be really reserved. But times have changed — the couple said they’ve been shocked by the amount of support they’ve received.

Sharp said that any relationship is more about personalities rather than gender or physical attributes. “We just see love,” he said.

When asked how they would celebrate, the men grinned at each other. “I guess we should get some champagne,” Sharp said.

Later Thursday afternoon, another marriage ceremony was scheduled for Tamara Walter and Heather Bryan.

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