Legal Backgrounder. On Dec. Supreme Court stepped squarely into the same-sex marriage debate when it agreed to review two important lower court decisions involving gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage in the United States expanded from one state in to all fifty states in through various state court rulings, state legislation, direct popular votes, and federal court rulings. Same-sex marriage is also referred to as gay marriagewhile the political status in which the marriages of same-sex couples and the marriages of opposite-sex couples are recognized as equal by the law is referred to as marriage equality. The fifty states each have separate marriage lawswhich must adhere to rulings by the Supreme Court of the United States that recognize marriage as a fundamental right that is guaranteed by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitutionas first established in the landmark civil rights case of Loving v.
The three-judge panel issued its ruling in San Franciscoupholding a decision by Judge Vaughn R. Walkerwho had been the chief judge of the Federal District Court of the Northern District of California but has since retired. The panel found that Proposition 8 — passed by a vote of 52 percent to 48 percent — violated the equal protection rights of two same-sex couples who brought the suit.
Obergefell v. HodgesU. The 5—4 ruling requires all fifty statesthe District of Columbiaand the Insular Areas to perform and recognize the marriages of same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as the marriages of opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities.
The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex. These cases come from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, States that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
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In the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges, the U. Supreme Court ruled that all state bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, making gay marriage legal throughout America.
The history of same-sex marriage in the United States dates from the early s, when the first lawsuits seeking legal recognition of same-sex relationships brought the question of civil marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples to public attention though they proved unsuccessful. Miike that suggested the possibility that the state's prohibition might be unconstitutional. That decision was met by actions at both the federal and state level to restrict marriage to male-female couples, notably the enactment at the federal level of the Defense of Marriage Act. The first legal same-sex marriage ceremony in the United States happened on February 12th,when the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, ordered city hall to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Beginning before Stonewall and continuing in the 50 years since, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have regularly turned to the courts for protection against mistreatment or to overturn laws that targeted them. From H. Olesen — United States Supreme Court.