Marriage Equality Is the Law of the Land Thanks to the Supreme Court’s Latest Decision

Bride and groom making a toast with champagne
It’s official: marriage equality is the law of the land in the United States.

On Friday, June 26, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold same-sex marriages performed in the U.S. — and by extension has now made such unions legal in all 50 states.

Washington, D.C., and 37 other states already permitted same-sex couples to marry thanks to legislation in each state. The other 13 states had passed bans on the unions, but those have now been overturned thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.

Marriage equality has long been a hot-button issue around the country, with proponents arguing that it’s good for civil rights and good for the economy, too. And with it comes more couples learning how to choose a diamond for an engagement ring, the preferred stone by 87.1% of brides, or booking banquet halls and catering services.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, as he had in other victories for LGBT Americans in previous years. Voting alongside Kennedy were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor; dissenters included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The ruling pointed to 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which grants “equal protection of the laws” to all American citizens. Kennedy also pointed out that the right to marry has to do with individual autonomy and that “decisions about marriage are among the most intimate that an individual can make.”

Yet not everyone is celebrating the victory today. In a rare occurrence, the four dissenting justices all wrote their own statements expressing their disagreement.

Scalia said of the decision in his own dissent, “Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”

The Supreme Court began reviewing the case for same-sex unions in 2013, when several gay couples from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee filed lawsuits for the right to marry.

Individual states have been allowing same-sex marriages since 2004, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize the unions.

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