This post was originally published on our partner website India.com:
In a historic decision announced on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide. The justices voted 5-4, in favor of ruling that several long-standing state bans on same-sex marriage are not Constitutional, thus extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” Supreme Court Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” Justice Kennedy said of the couples seeking same-sex marriage recognition. “Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
The decision came at the end of a long road for marriage equality advocates. Proposition 8—California’s highly controversial same-sex ban was the Supreme Court’s only previous decision in same-sex marriage equality in any state—and the Defense of Marriage Act, were both shot down by the Supreme Court in June 2013.
In remarks immediately following the ruling, President Barack Obama praised the Court for its decision.
“Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal,” Obama began. Recognizing the wide-sweeping decision as a “thunderbolt” after a slow, patchwork path to rights, Obama said the country should be very proud. “They’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law—that all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love. 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.”
The hashtag #LoveWins started trending on social media shortly after the decision was announced, with celebrities and politicians alike tweeting their support.
Many South Asians also praised the decision, especially in light of the reinstatement of Section 377, banning same-sex relations, in India in 2013.
Prior to Friday’s decision, 36 states had individually passed same-sex marriage rights. The sweeping decision makes the U.S. the largest democracy to make marriage equality the law of the land.