Alameda County
Bar Association

#LoveWins: The U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage 

#LoveWinsCalifornia woke to wonderful news from the U.S. Supreme Court: same-sex marriage rights have been extended to residents of all 50 states. The 5-4 decision comes two years after historic rulings regarding federal benefits and the Defense of Marriage Act.

We’ve culled a few of the initial reactions from the ruling for you below:

Marriage Equality FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the Supreme Court’s Marriage Ruling

Q&A: How will same-sex marriage ruling be enforced across the U.S.? with UC Berkeley Law Professor Melissa Murray.

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog explains what you need to know about the ruling, in Gay Marriage Ruling: What’s Next.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) live blog has some of the best tweets from around the nation, including photos of excited couples in line for licences. (Here’s one of a couple of 80 year-old Texans!)

Watch President Obama’s speech. “Love is love. What an extraordinary vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”

View photos of people all over the Bay Area celebrating the decision complied by the Mercury News.

The Opinion

Read the full decision here.

Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and signed by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, declares,

The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era. Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here. But when that sincere, personal opposition becomes enacted law and public policy, the necessary consequence is to put the imprimatur of the State itself on an exclusion that soon demeans or stigmatizes those whose own liberty is then denied. Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.

…No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. 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 judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. It is so ordered.


The dissenters hold a different view of today’s decision. Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

If you are among the many Americans – of whatever sexual orientation – who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

More excerpts from the dissents may be found here.

There is still more work to do, but we hope you will join us in taking a moment to recognize the sweeping and historic change, to honor the hard work and courage of those who came before, and to celebrate love winning.