US SUPREME COURT IN FAVOUR OF SAME SEX MARRIAGES
In a landmark opinion, a divided Supreme Court on Friday ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide, establishing a new civil right and handing gay rights advocates a historic victory.
In the 5-4 ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority with the four liberal justices. Each of the four conservative justices wrote their own dissent.
Nearly 46 years to the day after a riot at New York's Stonewall Inn ushered in the modern gay rights movement, the decision could settle one of the major civil rights fights of this era. The language of Kennedy's opinion spoke eloquently of the most fundamental values of family, love and liberty.
"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family," Kennedy wrote. "In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were."
'Equal dignity in the eyes of the law'
"Their hope," Kennedy wrote, "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."
Kennedy has written the opinion in significant gay rights cases and when he uttered the key sentence that same-sex couples should be able to exercise the right to marry in all states, people in the Court's public gallery broke into smiles and some wiped tears from their eyes.
In a dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia blasted the Court's "threat to American democracy."
"The substance of today's decree is not of immense personal importance to me," he wrote. "But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today's judicial Putsch."
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the decision had "nothing to do with the Constitution."