US Supreme Court approves gay marriage nationwide
The court ruled 5-4 in favour of the decision to allow same-sex marriage anywhere in the US. Obama said it is "a victory for America".
Agencies, CNN · WASHINGTON D.C. · 27 JUNE 2015 · 18:50 CET
In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.
In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Kennedy wrote. “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right", he added.
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court's "threat to American democracy."
"The substance of today's decree is not of immense personal importance to me," he wrote. "But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today's judicial Putsch."
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the decision had "nothing to do with the Constitution."
"Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it", he wrote.
There were two questions before the Court, the first asked whether states could ban same sex marriage, the second asked whether states had to recognize lawful marriages performed out of state.
BARACK OBAMA: “AMERICANS SHOULD BE PROUD”
After the ruling, President Barack Obama called Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case, while he and his supporters celebrated the ruling outside the court.
“I just wanted to say congratulations," Obama said as CNN broadcast his warm words to Obergefell over speakerphone. He added: "Your leadership on this has changed the country."
Speaking at the White House later in the morning, Obama said "Americans should be very proud," because small acts of courage "slowly made an entire country realize that love is love."
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES REACTIONS
Candidates former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, issued tightly-parsed language urging their colleagues to focus on protecting "religious freedom".
“In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate," Bush said in his statement.
The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, including territories. Married same-sex couples will now enjoy the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples nationwide and will be recognized on official documents such as birth and death certificates.
Read reactions of some of the most influential evangelical leaders in the USA here.