US Supreme Court: same-sex marriage legal nationwide

Big Stories in the US

Scotus gay marriage People gather outside the Supreme Court after the gay marriage ruling. PHOTO/ Doug Jones CCTV America

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

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LINK: SCOTUSBLOG

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

“No union is more profound than marriage,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

Supreme Court rules that gay marriage in U.S. is legal

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: A lone demonstrator protests against gay marriage in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building June 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The court is scheduled to issue landmark decisions on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and gay marriage. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP
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Security guards the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The court is expected to hand down decisions today. Two major opinions, health care and gay marriage, are among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Lupe Garcia, from left, Cindy Stocking, Carmelita Cabello, and Jaque Roberts wait at the Travis County building after hearing the Supreme Court ruling that grants same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide , Friday, June 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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Lupe Garcia, left, hugs her partner Cindy Stocking, right, at the Travis County building after hearing the Supreme Court ruling that grants same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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Courtroom sketch artist Art Lien makes a drawing of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The court is expected to hand down decisions today. Two major opinions, health care and gay marriage, are among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 25: Supporters for and against gay marriage gather in front of the Supreme Court Building June 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court is expected rule in the next few days on whether states can prohibit same sex marriage, as 13 states currently do. Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP
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Carlos McKnight of Washington, waves a flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. A major opinion on gay marriage is among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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People run under a giant equality flag as they celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation's highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOV
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Carlos McKnight, 17, of Washington, left, and Katherine Nicole Struck, 25, of Frederick, Md., hold flags in support of gay marriage as security walks behind outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. A major opinion on gay marriage is among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Photo by Doug Jones.
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Two women celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation's highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOV
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People celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on June 26, 2015 after its historic decision on gay marriage. The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a nationwide right, a landmark decision in one of the most keenly awaited announcements in decades and sparking scenes of jubilation. The nation's highest court, in a narrow 5-4 decision, said the US Constitution requires all states to carry out and recognize marriage between people of the same sex. AFP PHOTO/ MLADEN ANTONOV
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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Same-sex marriage supporters rejoice after the U.S Supreme Court hands down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP
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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Same-sex marriage supporters rejoice after the U.S Supreme Court hands down a ruling regarding same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Alex Wong/Getty Images/AFP
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From left, Annie Katz of the University of Michigan, Zaria Cummings of Michigan State University, Spencer Perry of Berkeley, Calif., and Justin Maffett of Dartmouth University, celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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The crowd celebrates outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Carmelita Cabello, left, and her partner of 31 year, Jaque Roberts, right, arrive at the Travis County building for a marriage license after hearing the Supreme Court ruling that grants same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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Jonathan Contreras, left, and Bonnie Casillas hold balloons that spelled out "love" in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The court is expected to hand down decisions today. Two major opinions, health care and gay marriage, are among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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People wait in line to enter the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The court is expected to hand down decisions today. Two major opinions, health care and gay marriage, are among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
[img src=http://www.cctv-america.com/wp-content/flagallery/supreme-court-rules-that-gay-marriage-in-u-s-is-legal/thumbs/thumbs_supreme_court_gay_marriage__social-mediacctv-america-com_8.jpg]730
The crowd reacts as the ruling on same-sex marriage was announced outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 26, 2015, after the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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President Barack Obama is seen working in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 26, 2015, before speaking in the Rose Garden after the Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have the right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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Ariel Olah of Detroit, left, and her fiancee Katie Boatman, are overcome by emotion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 26, 2015, as the ruling on same-sex marriage was announced. The court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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John Becker, 30, of Silver Spring, Md., waves a rainbow flag in support of gay marriage outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Thursday June 25, 2015. The same-sex marriage ruling is among the remaining to be released before the term ends at the end of June. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Staff from the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center celebrate after the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Friday June 26, 2015. The court's 5-4 ruling means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. (Crystal Vander Weit/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP) ALL LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION INTERNET OUT
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Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate outside of the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday June 26, 2015, after the court declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the US. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama says the Supreme Court’s ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide represents a day when justice “arrives like a thunderbolt.”

The president, in a Rose Garden statement, said the court ruling has “made our union a little more perfect.”

It was not until 2012 that Obama announced his own support for gay marriage. Now, he says, the court ruling will end the patchwork of laws on marriage across the country and the uncertainty that they create for same-sex couples.

Immediately after the ruling, Obama tweeted: “Today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else. #LoveWins”

WATCH: President Obama’s statement on same-sex marriage ruling.

Pres. Obama's statement on gay marriage ruling

Pres. Obama's statement on gay marriage ruling

President Barack Obama says the Supreme Court's ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide represents a day when justice "arrives like a thunderbolt." The president, in a Rose Garden statement, said the court ruling has "made our union a little more perfect."

The final paragraph of the landmark Supreme Court ruling on Friday that declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. 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. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

The ruling will not take effect immediately because the court gives the losing side roughly three weeks to ask for reconsideration. But some state officials and county clerks might decide there is little risk in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The cases before the court involved laws from several states that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Those states have not allowed same-sex couples to marry within their borders and they also have refused to recognize valid marriages from elsewhere.

Just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

The decision in United States v. Windsor did not address the validity of state marriage bans, but courts across the country, with few exceptions, said its logic compelled them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

The number of states allowing same-sex marriage has grown rapidly. As recently as October, just over one-third of the states permitted same-sex marriage.

There are an estimated 390,000 married same-sex couples in the United States, according to Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, which tracks the demographics of gay and lesbian Americans. Another 70,000 couples living in states that do not currently permit them to wed would get married in the next three years, the institute says. Roughly 1 million same-sex couples, married and unmarried, live together in the United States, the institute says.

The Obama administration backed the right of same-sex couples to marry. The Justice Department’s decision to stop defending the federal anti-marriage law in 2011 was an important moment for gay rights and President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage in 2012.

Story from The Associated Press.


Kerry Eleveld on same-sex marriage legal nationwide

For more on same-sex marriage legal nationwide, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke to Kerry Eleveld. She is a former White House correspondent for The Advocate magazine. And also, she is an expert on the Obama administration’s complex relationship with the LGBT movement.

Follow Mike Walter on Twitter @mikewaltercctv

Kerry Eleveld on same-sex marriage legal nationwide

Kerry Eleveld on same-sex marriage legal nationwide

For more on same-sex marriage legal nationwide, CCTV America's Mike Walter spoke to Kerry Eleveld. She is a former White House correspondent for The Advocate magazine. And also, she is an expert on the Obama administration's complex relationship with the LGBT movement.


Crowds gather to support same-sex marriage ruling in Washington
Both cheers and jeers erupted outside the Supreme Court, as the announcement was made. CCTV’s Nathan King filed this report.

Crowds gather to support same-sex marriage ruling in Washington

Crowds gather to support same-sex marriage ruling in Washington

Both cheers and jeers erupted outside the Supreme Court, as the announcement was made. CCTV's Nathan King filed this report.

  • Robert Bruce Rodgers

    Outstanding Report!