Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” […] The identification and protection of fundamental rights is an enduring part of the judicial duty to interpret the Constitution. […] The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.
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.
Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority of the Supreme Court of the United States. As always, the whole opinion is worth reading.
This is not unexpected by court-watchers, but it makes me very happy to see that the court didn’t go for some kind of state-by-state compromise decision.
I know this decision will come as a blow to many in our great country. To those who fear the consequences to the fabric of our society: I look forward to seeing your fears gradually put to rest over the coming decades. To the people afraid that this will endanger the immortal soul of our people and our nation: Jesus is on the phone, it sounds like he’s in the inner city somewhere and he’s saying something about feeding his sheep. To those who simply, spitefully want to see people different from you punished by being kept as second-class citizens: have fun simmering in miserable resentment.
To the people now granted an essential liberty most take for granted: happy Friday!