Same-sex marriage legal across United States, Supreme Court rules

Edmond Juicy stands in front of a massive rainbow flag hung from the balcony of San Francisco's City Hall Friday, June 26, 2015 in celebration of the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Obergefell v. Hodges today ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)
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All 50 states must legally recognize same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court ruled Friday morning.

The marriage ruling is twofold, saying the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and that states must recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states.

“This is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community in terms of our equality before the law,” said San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, an openly out politician. The ruling, “sends a very loud message that we have to be treated with dignity, and as equals.”

The Supreme Court’s historic decision on Obergefell v. Hodges today ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. The court ruled, by a 5-4 vote, that states do not have the right to ban same-sex marriage.

Obergefell v. Hodges arose out of battles against four states’ marriage bans: Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. Those states’ bans against same-sex marriage now run afoul of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of marriage law.

Justice Anthony Kennedy was widely viewed as the swing vote in the ideologically locked court. He read the majority opinion, according to SCOTUSblog.com, which streams court decisions live. Joining him in the majority were justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

The majority opinion from the Supreme Court describes a need for equal treatment.

“It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality,” the opinion reads. “Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to same-sex couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on gays and lesbians serves to disrespect and subordinate them.”

The majority opinion continues: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. … [The challengers] ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

As the morning wore on and word got out, San Francisco’s Castro district came alive. People whooped and hollered, and cars honked as they rode by.

“We finally have equality, we’ve made significant strides,” said San Francisco resident Mike Gatewood. “This is a huge day for us… I am ecstatic.”

As early as yesterday, local drag performer Juanita MORE! counted herself among those waiting on pins and needles. She’s concerned how the decision may effect the life of her brother, Frank Capley-Alfano.

“I stood proud between my son Jason and his love David as I performed their marriage. Family is something I cherish very deeply,” MORE! said. “Todays momentous decision simply says – love wins.”

Those on the other side of the win had many scathing words. The Supreme Court’s dissent argues that the decision opens the way for many more alternative forms of relationship to become legal in the eyes of the law.

“If not having the opportunity to marry ‘serves to disrespect and subordinate’ gay and lesbian couples, why wouldn’t the same ‘imposition of this disability,’ ante, at 22, serve to disrespect and subordinate people who find fulfillment in polyamorous relationships?” Chief Justice Justice John Roberts wrote in his dissent. He was joined by justices Samuel Anthony Alito, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia directed many criticisms at Justice Kennedy, who many regard as the swing in the 5-4 decision.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie,” Scalia wrote, in his dissenting opinion.

Scalia and Roberts words hardly touched the crowd gathered in front of San Francisco’s City Hall Friday morning. Their cheers were loud enough to be heard all the way back at the Supreme Court.

San Francisco’s former-Mayor Gavin Newsom set off the same-sex marriage firestorm by marrying same-sex couples in City Hall in 2004. Speaking in front of City Hall, he recalled those days.

“I’ve got three kids. It was an interesting thing, I’m new to parenting. The phone rang this morning at 7:03, and all I can think about is her.” he said. “How proud I am that she’ll grow up in a country that values each and every one of us.”

“We celebrate, we don’t tolerate, our diversity,” he said.

But no one riled the crowd like Kate Kendell, the head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Kate! Kate! Kate!” the crowd cried, as Kendell came to the podium.

“You! You! You!” she replied. She played a key role in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case that overturned Proposition 8 (the California gay marriage ban) at the Supreme Court, and has legally wrestled for LGBT rights across the United States for years.

“The relationships of same-sex couples enjoy the same dignity as everyone else,” she said. “Justice and love won today. Much of what we won today started here.”

Behind her nodded San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who also battled Proposition 8.

“So now our charge,” she said, “is to harness this momentum so that everyone in our community can live fully and freely.”

Racism, economic inequality, transgender women of color, LGBT homeless youth, LGBT parents, those in detention centers, or even the “basic right to keep a job,” are all the next frontiers in LGBT civil rights, she said.

“No one is left behind,” she shouted, to cheers.

Below are some tweets from the San Francisco rally for the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, at City Hall.

Read more of the Examiner’s coverage of Pride 2015:

SF SPCA wants you, and your pets, to march with them at Pride

A guide to Pride parties

The story behind Juanita MORE!’s famous Pride party

Eight ways to be the best heterosexual you can possibly be on Pride weekend

Legendary band ESG’s career finale at Hard French’s Pride weekend blowout

 

 

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Edmond Juicy stands in front of a massive rainbow flag hung from the balcony of San Francisco's City Hall Friday, June 26, 2015 in celebration of the Supreme Court’s historic decision on Obergefell v. Hodges today ruling that the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)




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