WASHINGTON (WWLP) – The U.S. Supreme Court says that all states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The 5-4 decision is a huge victory for proponents of same-sex marriage; an issue that has been a major subject of debate since the first same-sex weddings took place in Massachusetts in 2004.
The ruling held that the 14th Amendment requires that states issue marriage license to two people of the same sex, and must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Moderate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion of the court, and was joined by the court’s four liberal justices, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. The court’s four conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Samuel Alito, all dissented. Each of those justices wrote individual dissenting opinions.
Speaking shortly after the ruling came down, President Barack Obama praised the Supreme Court’s decision, saying that the ruling has “made our union a little more perfect.” He said that the ruling will provide clarity for same-sex couples nationwide; replacing a system in which marriage rights varied greatly from state-to-state. Statements of support also came from Massachusetts officials, including Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Maura Healey, and U.S. Senator Edward Markey.
Some GOP presidential candidates have reacted negatively to the ruling, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee saying that it threatens religious liberty. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said that “five unelected justices” had redefined “the foundational unit that binds together our society, without public debate or input.”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.Tweets by @BriSterling