By Junior Mayema,
We are not trying to redefine marriage, we just want our long term committed unions that are founded in love be treated with dignity and respect in society Justice Anthony Kennedy just nailed it here is an pdf link of the full decision of the legal document below :
Full text of the decision:
This is a video of the endorsement of marriage of marriage equality by the president of the United States below:
And here is an article that clarify about the decision down here :
The 19 Best Lines From the Supreme Court Decision That Just Legalized Gay Marriage
Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion is a love letter to marriage—and gay marriage.
In a historic move, the Supreme Court, in a narrow five-to-four decision, legalized gay marriage throughout the United States, declaring that the constitutional principle of equal protection overwhelms any state or local bans on same-sex marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a.k.a. Mr. Swing Vote, penned the majority decision that was joined by the four court liberals, and the opinion is a paean to marriage, with Kennedy passionately describing the benefits and significance of marriage and maintaining that same-sex couples can in no way, under the Constitution, be excluded from this fundamental institution. Here are the best passages from his historic opinion:
The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity.
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The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together. Confucius taught that marriage lies at the foundation of government. 2 Li Chi: Book of Rites 266 (C. Chai & W. Chai eds., J. Legge transl. 1967).
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To [gay marriage foes], [same-sex marriage] would demean a timeless institution if the concept and lawful status of marriage were extended to two persons of the same sex. Marriage, in their view, is by its nature a gender-differentiated union of man and woman. This view long has been held—and continues to be held—in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world.
The petitioners acknowledge this history but contend that these cases cannot end there. Were their intent to demean the revered idea and reality of marriage, the petitioners’ claims would be of a different order. But that is neither their purpose nor their submission. To the contrary, it is the enduring importance of marriage that underlies the petitioners’ contentions. This, they say, is their whole point. Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect—and need—for its privileges and responsibilities. And their immutable nature dictates that same-sex marriage is their only real path to this profound commitment.
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Recounting the circumstances of three of these cases illustrates the urgency of the petitioners’ cause from their perspective. Petitioner James Obergefell, a plaintiff in the Ohio case, met John Arthur over two decades ago. They fell in love and started a life together, establishing a lasting, committed relation. In 2011, however, Arthur was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. This debilitating disease is progressive, with no known cure. Two years ago, Obergefell and Arthur decided to commit to one another, resolving to marry before Arthur died. To fulfill their mutual promise, they traveled from Ohio to Maryland, where same-sex marriage was legal. It was difficult for Arthur to move, and so the couple were wed inside a medical transport plane as it remained on the tarmac in Baltimore. Three months later, Arthur died. Ohio law does not permit Obergefell to be listed as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate. By statute, they must remain strangers even in death, a state-imposed separation Obergefell deems “hurtful for the rest of time.” App. in No. 14–556 etc., p. 38. He brought suit to be shown as the surviving spouse on Arthur’s death certificate.
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The ancient origins of marriage confirm its centrality, but it has not stood in isolation from developments in law and society. The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change. That institution—even as confined to opposite-sex relations—has evolved over time.
For example, marriage was once viewed as an arrangement by the couple’s parents based on political, religious, and financial concerns; but by the time of the Nation’s founding it was understood to be a voluntary contract between a man and a woman. See N. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation 9–17 (2000); S. Coontz, Marriage, A History 15–16 (2005).
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Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 147–149 (1968). In addition these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs. See, e.g., Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438, 453 (1972); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 484–486 (1965). The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution.
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The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.
In Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1, 12 (1967), which invalidated bans on interracial unions, a unanimous Court held marriage is “one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” The Court reaffirmed that holding in Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U. S. 374, 384 (1978), which held the right to marry was burdened by a law prohibiting fathers who were behind on child support from marrying. The Court again applied this principle in Turner v. Safley, 482 U. S. 78, 95 (1987), which held the right to marry was abridged by regulations limiting the privilege of prison inmates to marry. Over time and in other contexts, the Court has reiterated that the right to marry is fundamental under the Due Process Clause.
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The Court, like many institutions, has made assumptions defined by the world and time of which it is a part. This was evident in Baker v. Nelson, 409 U. S. 810, a one-line summary decision issued in 1972, holding the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage did not present a substantial federal question.
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A first premise of the Court’s relevant precedents is that the right to personal choice regarding marriage is inherent in the concept of individual autonomy. This abiding connection between marriage and liberty is why Lovinginvalidated interracial marriage bans under the Due Process Clause.
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The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.
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As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. And hundreds of thousands of children are presently being raised by such couples. See Brief for Gary J. Gates as Amicus Curiae 4. Most States have allowed gays and lesbians to adopt, either as individuals or as couples, and many adopted and foster children have same-sex parents, see id., at 5. This provides powerful confirmation from the law itself that gays and lesbians can create loving, supportive families.
Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.
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Same-sex couples are consigned to an instability many opposite-sex couples would deem intolerable in their own lives. As the State itself makes marriage all the more precious by the significance it attaches to it, exclusion from that status has the effect of teaching that gays and lesbians are unequal in important respects. It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the Nation’s society. Same-sex couples, too, may aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning.
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Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.
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[T]he right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.
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There may be an initial inclination in these cases to proceed with caution—to await further legislation, litigation, and debate. The respondents warn there has been insufficient democratic discourse before deciding an issue so basic as the definition of marriage. In its ruling on the cases now before this Court, the majority opinion for the Court of Appeals made a cogent argument that it would be appropriate for the respondents’ States to await further public discussion and political measures before licensing same-sex marriages. SeeDeBoer, 772 F. 3d, at 409.
Yet there has been far more deliberation than this argument acknowledges. There have been referenda, legislative debates, and grassroots campaigns, as well as countless studies, papers, books, and other popular and scholarly writings.
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The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right. The Nation’s courts are open to injured individuals who come to them to vindicate their own direct, personal stake in our basic charter. An individual can invoke a right to constitutional protection when he or she is harmed, even if the broader public disagrees and even if the legislature refuses to act.
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The respondents also argue allowing same-sex couples to wed will harm marriage as an institution by leading to fewer opposite-sex marriages. This may occur, the respondents contend, because licensing same-sex marriage severs the connection between natural procreation and marriage. That argument, however, rests on a counterintuitive view of opposite-sex couple’s decisionmaking processes regarding marriage and parenthood. Decisions about whether to marry and raise children are based on many personal, romantic, and practical considerations; and it is unrealistic to conclude that an opposite-sex couple would choose not to marry simply because same-sex couples may do so.
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Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.
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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.
While LGBT Americans might think the battle is won here is an article that showed that gays people can be fired jobs and evicted from housing just for being gay please check it out below :
Even as a lesbian in a conservative Southern state, Katrina Martir managed to thrive in central Kentucky. She married — in another state — is raising an adopted child with her wife and recently started her own consulting business.
But when the former fourth-grade science teacher told her principal in 2010 that she planned to get pregnant and raise a child with her partner, Martir said she was promptly fired because public school officials feared a parent backlash over a lesbian teacher. Martir, 32, decided to sue for employment discrimination and went to see a lawyer. But she soon discovered that there was nothing illegal, either in Kentucky or her county, about firing someone for being gay.
“In most of Kentucky, they can do whatever they want, I guess,” Martir said. “I had three days to pack up.”
The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a landmark victory for same-sex marriage, but gay rights advocates were already preparing for the next great battle: the expansion of federal civil rights laws to protect gays in the workplace and elsewhere.
“The problem is, if gay marriage comes and gay couples go to get married, a number of them will get fired from their jobs for that,” said Bryan Gatewood, a gay rights lawyer in Louisville. He said a Supreme Court victory may even trigger a backlash from conservatives in some states and cities. “You are going to stir all these people up when [gays and lesbians] get married, so you’re going to get more discrimination.”
Though a broad high court ruling may very well send a legal message throughout the country that discrimination based on sexual orientation is on shaky legal ground, current federal civil rights laws do not explicitly ban such discrimination.
Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, leaving millions of gays and lesbians without a clear right to rent an apartment, eat at a restaurant or keep their jobs.
“This is the next frontier after gay marriage,” Gatewood said. Legislation to provide comprehensive federal protections for gays and lesbians nationwide is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in the House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the Senate.
With Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress, the bills have little chance of passing anytime soon. But gay rights groups say prospects for gay marriage were similarly dim when that movement started over two decades ago.
“This is about laying the foundation for this legislation to eventually pass,” said Ian Thompson of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office. “A majority of the people support this. It’s only a matter of time before that reality catches up to Congress.”
Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, predicted an LGBT nondiscrimination bill would be passed in the next three to six years. “There has been a very significant shift among Republicans about how they think about LGBT people and what it means to provide core protections,” she said.
The benefits of such laws are demonstrated by a client of Gatewood’s in Louisville, which passed an ordinance protecting gays.
When police Sgt. Kile Nave was called “queer” by a supervisor and then fired after he protested to the chief of his suburban Louisville department, he filed a lawsuit and a complaint with the city’s human rights commission.
The Audubon Park Police Department paid Nave damages, and he now works happily at another police department nearby. But had Nave worked across the county line just 10 miles away, or in most of the rest of Kentucky, he would have had no established legal right to complain.
Kennedy specifically cited the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. That opens it up to being applied against discrimination in housing or employment should another case make it to the Court on those grounds. This is really an expansive ruling when you get right down to it…
Opponents of gay rights legislation are also ramping up. They are focusing a rival campaign around religious liberties, claiming that a mandate to serve gays and lesbians might sometimes violate their faith.
Some states, like Mississippi, have passed laws to protect businesses that refuse to serve gays and lesbians as a matter of religious conscience.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious legal advocacy group based in Arizona, is advising churches, religious nonprofit organizations and schools on how to defend themselves from discrimination lawsuits. The organization is also representing a florist who refused to sell flowers for a gay wedding and a T-shirt printer who refused to make shirts for a gay pride parade, according to the group’s spokesman Bob Trent.
Their cause was bolstered last year when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations with religious-minded owners have rights similar to those of individuals under a federal religious freedom law. The decision exempted the Hobby Lobby crafts chain from a federal requirement to offer certain forms of birth control to workers.
But sometimes efforts to use religious claims to rebuff anti-discrimination laws have caused a backlash. A bill approved in Indiana in March that critics said provided a legal basis for businesses to refuse services to gay customers was amended in April to explicitly outlaw such discrimination after the state was hit with a flood of negative national attention, including criticism from some major companies based in the state.
Even without a federal law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians, there have been several major — if little-known — advances in the area of employment in recent years. Since 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has quietly reinterpreted the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination in the workplace to cover gay and transgender people.
EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum said in an interview that the EEOC decided it was “a gender stereotype to think that a man should marry a woman,” ruling in favor of 223 LGBT people who claimed employment discrimination in the past two years. But that theory has not been fully tested in the courts, and a new federal law could give much broader protections, she said.
Last year President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating in hiring based on sexual orientation, which according to the Williams Institute at UCLA covers nearly a quarter of the entire civilian workforce.
All federal employees are also protected against discrimination based on sexual orientation, under executive orders issued by several presidents. The Pentagon announced an anti-discrimination policy in early June. Together they mean protection for more than 4 million more Americans.
Combined with some 200 local anti-discrimination ordinances, about half of all gay and lesbian workers in the U.S. are believed to be legally protected against employment discrimination, though firm numbers are not available.
In addition, nearly 90% of Fortune 500 publicly traded companies voluntarily prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
But there are no laws protecting a majority of gays and lesbians from other forms of discrimination, including housing.
Because there are few legal protections and the EEOC has only recently gotten involved, it is difficult to quantify the extent of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. A 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office study found only between 3% and 5% of employment discrimination complaints were based on sexual orientation in states that offered protection against such bias.
A 2013 Pew Research Center poll found that 21% of gay workers surveyed said they had been treated unfairly by an employer based on their sexual orientation. That compares with 46% of African Americans who report they have been treated unfairly by an employer, according to Pew.
In a 2013 study, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that landlords responded less favorably to same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex couples in housing inquires more than 15%of the time.
Rhode Island Rep. Cicilline, a former mayor of Providence, is one of six openly gay members of Congress. He is confident that his legislation will succeed in time
“I don’t think there is any question that we will live in a country where discrimination [against gays] is prohibited,” said Cicilline in an interview. “The question is when.”