On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court held “[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.” Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S. Ct. 2584, 2604 (2015). In holding that the right to marry is a fundamental right for all couples, the Supreme Court found that:
“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.”
Pursuant to the Obergefell holding, same-sex marriage is now recognized in all 50 states. In addition, the Obergefell decision provides that States must recognize same-sex marriages that were lawfully performed in other States prior to the Supreme Court’s June 26, 2015 decision.
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