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U.S. Supreme Court Lifts Same-Sex Marriage Bans

As of June 26th, 2015, same-sex marriage is legal across the nation. With a narrow 5-4 vote in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that denying or refusing to recognize these marriages as valid legal unions is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The case summary cites the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, stating that marriage is a fundamental right that shall not be denied.

As a result of this ruling, previous bans against same-sex marriage have been lifted in fourteen states, and courts have begun to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples across the nation. This is considered a victory for the gay rights movement, and according to President Barack Obama, “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

The narrow vote capped a long-standing legal battle that began after the government of Ohio refused to acknowledge the marital status of John Arthur on his death certificate. Arthur and his partner, Jim Obergefell, had traveled to Maryland to acquire a marriage license before returning home. When the death certificate listed Arthur as single, Obergefell brought his case to court.

The fourteen states affected include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Most of Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Nebraska