Same-sex marriage is now legal across the entire United States after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that any ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
When the ruling was announced a sea of rainbow flags waved frantically outside the courthouse along with tears, hugs, and cheers of “USA USA USA!”.
Before the ruling, 37 states had already allowed for marriage equality, with the 14 remaining states placing bans marriages which were deemed non-traditional. Today’s ruling means that those states can no longer enforce any bans which prevent same-sex couples from marrying.
US President Barack Obama described the court’s ruling as a “victory for America.”
“This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case,” he said. “It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognised as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.
“And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.”
Same-sex couples across America rushed to marry immediately after the ruling, with some couples doing so successfully, and others being told they would still have to wait for procedural legislation to change in the coming days.
The appeal before the Supreme Court was brought by 16 gay couples challenging marriage bans in the four states. The couples argued the U.S. Constitution entitles them to unions on the same terms as heterosexuals, and that state restrictions hurt them financially and demean their dignity by denying their unions legal recognition.