Exactly two years after the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision in United States v. Windsor, invalidating much of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court today announced its 5–4 ruling declaring same-sex marriage the law of the land. This date is also exactly 12 years after the Lawrence v. Texas ruling invalidating sodomy laws across the country.
“The history of marriage is one of both continuity and change,” Justices wrote in a summary of the decision where they ruled that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must recognize their unions.
“This transformative triumph is a momentous victory for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all, love. For the first time in our nation’s history, ALL loving and committed couples will have the freedom to say, ‘I do,'” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
Hundreds of Utahns will gather tonight at 6 p.m. at City Creek Park, 110 N. State Street to celebrate.
The justices were asked to determine whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to both license same-sex marriages and recognize such unions from other states.
Before today’s ruling, same-sex marriage had already been made legal in 37 states by either legislative or voter action or by federal courts that overturned state’ bans. Utah’s ban was the first to be overturned on Dec. 20, 2013 when Judge Robert Shelby ruled it violated the U.S. Constitution.
The Human Rights Campaign has sent letters to governors of all states where same-sex marriage was not-yet legal, calling on them to “act with all deliberate speed to remove remaining obstacles to marriage equality.”
“In order to be in full compliance with the law, we urge you to take immediate action to ensure that all Justices of the Peace begin issuing marriage licenses to all eligible couples immediately. […] Delaying the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples is not only unlawful, but allows the discriminatory impacts of an unconstitutional law to continue,” HRC’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow wrote to the governors.