We’d already planned what we were going to talk about this week when the Supreme Court reached their landmark marriage equality decision last week. With the recent Pride Parade in Philly, and the 50th Annual Reminders anniversary festivities that are now going on, and the new Rainbow Crosswalk, it seemed like an excellent time to tackle the topic. As luck would have it, just a day before I sat down to write my first post, the Supreme Court made it’s ruling.
In case you’re not totally familiar with the ruling, or wanted a little more than “it means same-sex couples can marry in every state”, here is the opinion of the court:
On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5–4 decision that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to grant same-sex marriages and recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. The Court overturned its prior decision in Baker v. Nelson, which the Sixth Circuit had invoked as precedent. Justice Anthony Kennedy (often considered the “swing vote” of the court) authored the decision. Kennedy wrote in part for the majority:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
—Justice Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges majority opinion
Upon hearing the court’s decision, plaintiff James Obergefell said,”Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across the country already know to be true in our hearts: that our love is equal.” Obergefell who sought to put his name on his husband’s Ohio death certificate as surviving spouse, originally filed in June 2013. Obergefell and John Arthur, a same-sex couple from Cincinnati, Ohio decided to marry to obtain legal federal recognition of a marriage. After learning that their state of residence would not recognize their marriage license (performed in MD) they filed the lawsuit. Arthur died on October 22, 2013 of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
*Photo of woman making her support of her marriage known outside New York City’s Lincoln Center is courtesy of photographer David Shankbone and is provided courtesy of Creative Commons License 3.0.