The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry legalizing marriage equality across the land.


The 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges comes as cities across the nation prepare to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall Riots - widely considered the catalyst of the modern LGBT rights movement. 

The entire ruling can be read here.

The High Court consolidated Obergefell v. Hodges, a federal lawsuit demanding that the state of Ohio recognize same-sex marriages legally obtained in other jurasdictions, with three other cases: Tanco v. Haslam (Tennessee), DeBoer v. Snyder (Michigan) and Bourke v. Beshear (Kentucky). The plaintiff same-sex couples asked the Court 1: Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2: Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state? Oral arguments were heard on April 28, 2015.

Swing vote Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision for the majority, joined the Court's four liberal justices: Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Chief Justice John Robert, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented. The Sixth Circuit decision was reversed.


“In forming a marital union, two people be­come something greater than once they were,“ Kennedy wrote. “As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.”


Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the landmark case, spoke in St. Louis earlier this month to share his story ahead of the SCOTUS decision.

Obergefell had been with his partner John Arthur for over 20 years in 2011 when Arthur was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurological disease that paralyzes the body. Following the 2013 Windsor decision where the Supreme Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, the couple were married on an airport tarmac in Maryland after chartering a special medical flight. Arthur died three months later, but not before the couple successfully sued their home state of Ohio to recognize the marriage. The state then appealed to have Obergefell removed from the death certificate as Arthur's spouse.

"When my husband John died, I never thought I'd have to fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court to defend our marriage," Obergefell said in his St. Louis speech. "But if I hadn't started that fight, I wouldn't have realized that that battle will continue after our ruling is released in a few short weeks."

"Today I am here to make a promise," Obergefell continued. "And it is a promise that is as sacred as the one I made to John on that airport tarmac. I promise to keep up the fight for the LGBT community until full equality is fully achieved."

The community is invited to a decision day rally at St. Louis City Hall this evening (Friday, June 26, 2015) at 6 p.m. The event is organized by Show Me Marriage, which was founded by PROMO, Progress Missouri, ACLU of Missouri and Freedom to Marry.

According to organizers, there will be several speakers at the event and further clarity will be provided on what this decision means for Missourians.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.




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