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Same-sex Marriage Now Legal In All American States

Posted: Jun 27, 2015 at 7:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Ejikeme Omenazu  –  Lagos (With Agency Reports)

 

The United States Supreme Court on Friday June 26, 2015 legalised same-sex marriage across all the 50 states in the country, striking down the remaining bans in Texas and a dozen other states by a 5-4 vote.

Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan were in the majority.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice Roberts dissented.

The court declared that refusing to grant marriage licences to gay and lesbian couples violates the constitution.

The majority opinion in the 5-4 decision was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

“The constitution promises liberty to all within its reach,” Kennedy wrote.

While many county clerks – including those in Bexar, Dallas and Travis counties – are expected to immediately begin accepting applications and issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples, Harris County Clerk, Stan Stanart, said he would look to the state for guidance.

It was unclear, however, how state officials may react.

Attorney General, Ken Paxton, on Thursday urged county clerks across Texas to await his direction before issuing marriage licences.

Before now, a total of 36 states allowed gay couples to get married, covering roughly 70 per cent of the US population.

Friday’s ruling means the bans must end in the other 14 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri,

Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

The decision capped a remarkably quick turnaround in public and judicial acceptance of same-sex marriage. In the past 18 months, court rulings struck down marriage bans in rapid succession – nearly 60 separate decisions in more than half the states.

The ruling overturned a decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which said states had legitimate reasons for maintaining the traditional definition of marriage.

The appeals court also said it would be better “to allow change through the customary political processes” instead of the courts.

The landmark ruling is expected to produce the most significant change in laws governing matrimony since the court struck down state bans on inter-racial marriage almost 50 years ago.

Among the five justices who voted for gay marriage were three women.

Public opinion had shifted dramatically in recent years. The first Gallup poll on the subject showed only 27 per cent approval for same-sex marriage in 1996.

Gallup’s most recent poll, taken last month, showed 60 per cent approval.