The Constitutional Precedents For Marriage Equality
The recent Supreme Court decision, Obergefell, et al v Hodges, gave same-sex couples the Constitutional right to marry in the United States.
In his majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy cites the many Supreme Court decisions that expanded the inclusiveness of marriage to a wider variety of same-sex couples and individuals—prisoners, interracial couples, and men behind in their child support payments—all of whom sought the right to marry, not because of their unique status, but, as Judge Kennedy makes eminently clear, because of the “right to marry in its comprehensive sense.”
Kennedy also cited decisions protecting the rights of homosexuals.
These two legal approaches were the guiding forces in leading the majority opinion to end the last legal barrier to “equal protection” and “due process” for same-sex “intimacy”—- all state laws prohibiting same-sex marriages. In addition, states will be Constitutionally compelled to honor all marriage licenses given out-of-state.
Aside from the legal and Constitutional issues framing the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy included in his statements a wide array of assumptions about marriage. Continue reading