In a landmark ruling where U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy swung to join the majority, the high court handed down a decision June 26th that, in effect, makes same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," wrote Kennedy. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were."
"Their hope," wrote Kennedy, "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."
President Barack Obama was among the first to congratulate Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff int he case, saying "Your leadership on this has changed the country" In an address later in the morning, Obama sayd of the ruling. "Americans should be very proud."
Kennedy, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1988 by then-President Ronald Reagan, wrote, "Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers, [same-sex couples'] children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser."
But in his dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts, reading from the bench, blistered the justices who voted in favor of making same-sex the law of the land, saying, "Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own version of marriage as a matter of constitutional law."
Justice Antonin Scalia, also voting no, was even more harsh, writing that the decision revealed that the court was "a threat to American democracy."