Supreme Court rules same-sex couples nationwide have right to marry

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for same-sex marriage today, striking down several states’ ban on same-sex unions. The full opinion can be read here.

In January, a federal judge struck down laws banning same-sex marriage in Alabama, opening the gates for gay and lesbian couples to marry. Same-sex marriage licenses were issued in most Alabama counties for three weeks until the state Supreme Court ordered probate judges to stop.

In several other states across the country, thousands of couples married this year after a string of lower court rulings tossed out same-sex marriage bans.

In April, the Supreme Court heard arguments on both sides of the issue. Groups in support of and against same-sex marriage have been eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court justices’ decision since then.

Huntsville’s chapter of Free2Be held a watch party for this morning’s SCOTUS announcement.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange offered the following statement.

“Today the United States Supreme Court overturned centuries of tradition and the will of the citizens of a majority of the States in declaring that Alabama and the rest of the nation must legally recognize same-sex marriage.
Chief Justice Roberts agreed with our amicus brief that ‘a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational.
While I do not agree with the opinion of the majority of the justices in their decision, I acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is now the law of the land. Short of the passage of a Constitutional Amendment protecting marriage as between one man and one woman, the U.S. Supreme Court has the final say.
But while the states are now required to recognize same-sex marriage, I expect the focus will now turn to the exercise of one’s religious liberty. I will continue to defend the religious liberties of Alabamians and ensure that people and businesses honoring their religious beliefs are protected.”

Benjamin Newbern, Board Chair of Equality Alabama, released the following statement after the Supreme Court’s opinion:

“Today the United States again took a giant step toward the more perfect union we the people aspire to. Today the Liberty Bell rings alongside wedding bells across an ocean of joy. We call on probate judges across the state that swore an oath to faithfully and impartially uphold the duties of their office to abide by this ruling. Same sex couples have waited long enough.
Marriage equality, however, is not the finish line. It is the starting gate. While LGBT Alabamians – and Americans nationwide now have the freedom to marry, they do not have full equality under the law. LGBT Alabamians can still be fired from their jobs, forced out of their homes, or denied service at a restaurant or other public accommodations simply based on who they love. Our work will continue. We will harness the momentum from winning the freedom to marry to secure additional advances towards full equality.”