The ruling not only extends the right to marry to same-sex couples, but also requires all states to recognize gay marriages and civil unions carried out in other states.
Justice Kennedy sided with the liberal side of the court and wrote the decision. Chief Justice Roberts authored the dissenting opinion. The full text of their opinions on same-sex marriage can be found HERE.
President Obama offered his comments in a Rose Garden speech this morning where he said that “the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” [See the full speech here]
The case being decided, Obergefell v. Hodges, asked the court to answer two questions – are states required to license a marriage to same-sex couples and do states then have to recognize same-sex marriage licenses from other states. The court answered yes to both heavily citing the 14th amendment.
While the court decision forces state governments to license gay marriages, where those ceremonies take place could become another court case.
The Coalition of African-American Pastors and other Christian church leaders held a press conference yesterday where they expressed how the court’s decision contradicts tenets of their faith and moral law.
At a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, held in the Church of God in Christ’s historic Mason Temple, Rev. Bill Owens, president and founder of the Coalition of African-American Pastors (CAAP), said, “If they rule for same-sex marriage, then we’re going to do the same thing we did for the civil rights movement. We will not obey an unjust law.”
“The politicians and the courts have tried to take God out of this country,” he continued. “This country was founded on Godly principles. We will not stand back and be silenced.”
Recently, small business owners in the wedding industry have been cyber-bullied, boycotted and in some cases taken to court over their choosing to opt-out of servicing gay weddings. Photographers and cake makers have listed religious conflicts and moral differences for choosing not to take on the same-sex clients. One such photographer had a case make it to the Supreme Court only to have the court refuse to rule on it.
So the question remains – will pastors, priests, photographers, bakers and others that typically facilitate and service a wedding be forced to do so against their own belief systems?
More SCOTUS cases are likely on exactly this issue.