The Constitution Mandated SCOTUS’ Gay Marriage Ruling



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Tens of thousands of people attended the Twin Cities Pride Events in June 2015, with more to celebrate than in the past. Just days before the annual Pride parade, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) legalized gay marriage in all 50 states.

The ruling occurred on June 26. It met with mixed reactions throughout the nation.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, the main voice behind the majority ruling, attempted to capture the constitutionality of gay marriage with a written statement.

He mentioned, regarding the equality so prided by the USA, the ruling invites same-sex couples to “a central institution of the nation’s society.”

Constitutionally, the equality to which Justice Kennedy refers presents itself in the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the National Constitution Center’s website, this amendment calls for equal protection of laws and citizenship rights to all U.S. citizens.

Supporters of the SCOTUS decision say discriminating against who can and cannot obtain a nationally-recognized marriage license based on the sexes of those involved means going against providing equal rights to all U.S. citizens.

Additionally, supporters note that with marriage comes many government rights that do not apply to couples in civil unions.

For example, claims marriage provides a spouse with veterans’ and Social Security benefits, employment benefits, and exemption from certain income taxes regarding the health of his or her spouse. Civil unions do not.

Because these benefits are to married couples, denying U.S. citizens marriage means denying them the rights to these benefits. Therefore, to deny same-sex couples marriage is to deny them the “equal citizenship rights” mentioned in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause (Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution) supports the idea of nationwide same-sex marriage, as well.

Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, each state must recognize the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings” of all other states. So, a state without legal gay marriage must recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

The Defense of Marriage Act (1996) exempted states from recognizing same-sex marriages under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, if they desire. The Supreme Court outcome, however, aligns more closely with the intent of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, as all states must perform and recognize the act of same-sex marriage.

“The generations that wrote and ratified (the Fourteenth Amendment) did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions…they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons,” Justice Kennedy declared. “A claim to liberty,” he added, is just.