On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that under the Constitution same-sex couples should have the right to legally marry in the U.S. With the legislation, same-sex marriage was officially legal in all 50 states. Before the ruling, same-sex couples were only able to be married in 34 states and were not considered legal spouses or had those rights in other locations.
Proceedings of the Ruling
Before the Supreme Court’s decision, Obergefell v. Hodges began in July of 2013, when James Obergefell and John Arthur legally married in Maryland. John was terminally ill and died shortly after their marriage, but since they lived together in Ohio (a state that did not legally recognize same-sex marriages), Obergefell was not recognized on the death certificate as a spouse. Obergefell filed a lawsuit against the state, but the state general’s office defended Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage.
About Obergefell v. Hodges
In November 2014, a petition for a writ of centiorari was filed. A writ of centiorari is a petition for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal for a decision made by a lower court. This petition questioned whether or not Ohio’s refusal to recognize the marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and equal protection. The Supreme Court reviewed the case, plus the cases of many other same-sex couples that argued that their marriages should be protected.
These included the following:
- Tanco v. Hasslam
- Deboer v. Snyder
- Bourke v. Beshear
After months of debating and reviewing, the Supreme Court decided with a 5-to-4 vote that same-sex marriage was a fundamental American right, legalizing it across the country. President Barack Obama called the ruling a “victory for America” and thousands of people across the U.S. showed their support by changing their social media pictures to rainbow flags and posting with tags like #LoveWins.
To review the accounts of Obergefell v. Hodges, you can see the actions and decisions that led to the ruling on the SCOTUSblog.