Supreme Court Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges)

Opinion of the Court

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES

Nos. 14–556, 14-562, 14-571 and 14–574

JAMES OBERGEFELL, ET AL., PETITIONERS 14–556 v. RICHARD HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL.;
VALERIA TANCO, ET AL., PETITIONERS 14–562 v. BILL HASLAM, GOVERNOR OF TENNESSEE, ET AL.;
APRIL DEBOER, ET AL., PETITIONERS 14–571 v. RICK SNYDER, GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN, ET AL.; AND
GREGORY BOURKE, ET AL., PETITIONERS 14–574 v. STEVE BESHEAR, GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY

ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT [June 26, 2015]

 

[Click here to read the full opinion(s) of OBERGEFELL v. HODGES]

Here are a few excerpts:

“The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex cou­ples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold—and it now does hold—that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character”

 

“Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advo­cate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine pre­cepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and search­ing debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.”

 

“Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The fundamental liberties protected by this Clause include most of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. See Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S. 145, 147–149 (1968). In addition these liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs. See, e.g., Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438, 453 (1972); Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479, 484–486 (1965). The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution…”

 

“The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimen­sions, and so they entrusted to future generations a char­ter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a re­ceived legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed. Applying these established tenets, the Court has long held the right to marry is protected by the Constitution…”

 

“The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way, though they set forth independent principles. Rights implicit in liberty and rights secured by equal protection may rest on different precepts and are not always co­extensive, yet in some instances each may be instructive as to the meaning and reach of the other…”

 

“These considerations lead to the conclusion that the 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. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them.”

 

Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution [Section 1]: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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