On June 26, 2015, the gay rights movement was capped with a victory when
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that denying same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
Citing the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, five of the nine Supreme Court Justices declared that marriage
is an inherent, fundamental right which same-sex couples are entitled
The ruling came as the final decision in the Obergefell vs. Hodges case,
a two-year old case that began with a lawsuit filed by James Obergefell
and late partner, John Arthur, after the marriage they sought in Maryland
was not recognized by their home state of Ohio. The case against the state’s
health department was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court in November of
2014 and concluded with a 5-4 vote in favor of the plaintiffs.
Fourteen states are directly affected by this ruling. The case syllabus
declares that “The State laws challenged by the petitioners in these
cases are held invalid to the extend they exclude same-sex couples from
civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.”
This means that those states that previously banned same-sex marriages,
are now required to grant and recognize them as valid legal unions.
The 14 states that are affected include:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- Most of Missouri