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Long-awaited Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage arrives

3324502_S.jpgTruly, what else could a family law blog write about today?

Persons interested in constitutional law and cases that dramatically move the dial on American mores and culture might confidently mark June 26 as a signal date in the country's legal history.

That was last Friday, a day on which the United States Supreme Court finally weighed in with finality on the issue of same-sex marriage rights for gay couples across the country. The court's ruling had been long awaited, with the New York Times noting that the tribunal had "cautiously and methodically" waited for same-sex marriage outcomes to work their way through the nation's lower courts before finally putting the ultimate judicial stamp of affirmation on gay marriage.

The court's ruling was hardly a slam dunk decision, though, that evidenced strong unanimity among the justices regarding the seminal topic they were focused upon. The court split 5-4. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, stated that "the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry." Justice Antonin Scalia called the opinion "pretentious" and "profoundly incorrect."

A particular focus of Kennedy's opinion spotlighted the children of same-sex couples, with the justice stating that marital recognition for gay couples is necessary to ensure their children have the same stability and predictability that is accorded children of heterosexual couples.

Without that, wrote Kennedy, those children "suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser."

Prior to the court's decision, 37 states -- including Illinois -- had already legalized same-sex marriage. That will also now be the case in the 13 states that were continuing to enforce bans against the practice.

Source: The New York Times, "Supreme Court ruling makes same-sex marriage a right nationwide," Adam Liptak, June 26, 2015

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