Same-sex couples can get married in all 50 states after a historic Supreme Court ruling on Friday struck down state bans, according to NPR. Gay marriage was already legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, but now the narrow 5-4 ruling means that the remaining 13 states must stop refusing to marry same-sex couples.
The majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, which comes on the anniversary of two earlier decisions in gay-rights cases, most notably United States v. Windsor, which struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Associated Press.
"No union is more profound than marriage," Kennedy wrote in today's majority opinon.
AP reports that the ruling will not be effective immediately because protocol gives the losing side about three weeks to ask the court to reconsider.
According to NPR, Obergefell v. Hodges is tied to three other cases involving about a dozen couples who challenged same-sex-marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. Those states had defined marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman and had not permitted same-sex marriages within their borders. They also refused to recognize marriage licenses from other states, AP notes.
Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House this morning, President Barack Obama lauded the Supreme Court and its ruling that "reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law [and] that all people should be treated equally regardless of who they are or who they love":
Progress on this journey [to ensure equality] often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt. …
[This ruling is] a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It's a victory for their children whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It's a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who have spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come, and this ruling is a victory for America.