In a historic decision on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages must be granted and recognized nationwide, which lifts bans that existed in 14 states, including Georgia. The ruling, a narrow 5-4 vote, states that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the 14th amendment.
Per the Case Syllabus:
“The State laws challenged by the petitioners in these cases are held invalid to the extent they exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.”
The syllabus cites the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment as constitutional support for the Supreme Court’s ruling, which President Barack Obama has called “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”
This ruling was the result of a long-standing legal battle between petitioners, James Obergefell, et al. and the director of the Ohio Department of Health, Richard Hodges, et al. The case began in district courts after Obergefell and his late partner returned to Ohio after getting married on a plane in Maryland and found that their marriage was not recognized. It comes to a close with a decision that is considered to cap the victory for the gay rights movement across the nation.
States that are affected by this ruling include:
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- Most of Missouri
Reference: Case Syllabus