The United States (US) Supreme Court on 26 June 2015 legalized same-sex marriage across the nation in a closely divided ruling by a 5 to 4 vote. The 28-page ruling was made by Justice Anthony Kennedy and was agreed by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
With this ruling, now the states cannot deny marriage rights enjoyed for thousands of years by opposite-sex couples to gay men and lesbians. The decision is expected to trigger same-sex marriages in fourteen states that banned the practice.
The court ratified the Bill of Rights and added the Fourteenth Amendment that states no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-State.
The decision came exactly two years after Kennedy's majority opinion in United States v. Windsor struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples. In this decision, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution that evolves with societal changes.
According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, which tracks the demographics of gay and lesbian Americans, there are an estimated 390000 married same-sex couples in the United States.
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