The United Sates Supreme Court has made a historic ruling instituting marriage equality nationwide annulling any local state-bans.
In essence the court ruled that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry nationwide, and that individual states cannot oppose this right.
The US Supreme Court ruled by 5-4 votes requiring all 50 states and all U.S. territories to recognise all legally-performed marriages from all jurisdictions, and to extend the right to marriage to same-sex couples.
The United States now becomes one of 21 countries that legalised marriage equality.
The court ruling was based on a case, Obergefell v. Hodges, filed by Jim Obergefell, a man whose legally-married husband died. Obergelfell sued to have his name placed on his husband’s death certificate.
According to the US based New Civil Rights Movement website, the Court heard four same-sex marriage cases in April, all from the 6th Circuit Court of appeals, the only appellate court that ruled states may practice marriage discrimination against same-sex couples. That decision was in Michigan’s DeBoer v. Snyder, a case filed by two women, both pediatric emergency room nurses, who have adopted four special needs children and wanted to marry so they could jointly adopt each child.
On 28 April, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases from each of the four states that comprise the 6th Circuit: Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. It had challenged plaintiffs and defendants to answer two questions:
Question 1: Must states allow same-sex couples to marry under the United States Constitution?
Question 2: Must states recognize the legal marriages entered by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions?
The court answered YES to both questions, and will thus legalise marriage equality throughout the US and remove any state bans.
Before today’s ruling, same-sex marriage was legal in 37 states and one U.S. territory. Of the remaining 13 states, bans remained in place in the four states of the 6th Circuit. In the remaining nine states, rulings or decisions were placed on hold in deference to the impending Supreme court ruling.