On June 26, with a Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, by a vote of five to four, marriage equality became legal throughout the United States. “What a glorious day for equality, justice and love! Today, in a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the U.S. Constitution–a decision that extends the freedom to marry to all same-sex couples nationwide,” said Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart in an email to members of the organization.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy was the swing vote and author of the decision. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan cast the other favorable votes. Chief Justice John C. Roberts, Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel A. Alito, Jr. cast the dissenting votes.
James Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Obergefell v. Hodges, brought his suit against the state of Ohio, when it refused to recognize his marriage to John Arthur, who died in 2013. President Barack Obama, who welcomed the decision in a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, telephoned Obergefell to say, “I couldn’t be prouder of you and your husband.”