The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, an historic decision that extends gay and lesbian nuptials nationwide.
The question before the justices in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges was whether the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and due process require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex.
The justices also were considering the question of whether a state is required to recognize a same-sex couple’s legal marriage performed out-of-state.
Read it all here. And more from USA Today:
The justices ruled that states cannot deny gay men and lesbians the same marriage rights enjoyed for thousands of years by opposite-sex couples. Within days if not hours, the decision is expected to trigger same-sex marriages in states that still ban the practice.
The landmark ruling ends a legal battle that had brewed in the states for 45 years, from Minnesota in the 1970s to Hawaii in the 1990s and New England after the turn of the century. The final turning point came in 2013, when the high court forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages and allowed them to resume in California.
Had the court upheld gay marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky, it would have jeopardized federal court rulings striking down similar bans in 20 of the 37 states where same-sex marriage has been declared legal. Quickly, the number of gay marriage states could have been cut in half.
Instead, the court’s finding that same-sex couples have a right to marry under the Constitution will make gay marriage legal in the remaining 13 states, from Georgia to North Dakota. And it will make battles over religious-freedom and non-discrimination laws the next battleground in the nation’s continuing struggle with gay rights.
Throughout the battle, a patient legal strategy, savvy public relations campaign and superior financing and organization propelled the gay marriage movement past an outgunned and underfunded opposition.
What do you think this means for the residents of the State of South Dakota?