In a landmark victory for gay rights, a divided Supreme Court today ruled that state prohibitions on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution.
Lisa Goodman, President of Equality Delaware says today’s ruling will have a major impact on married gay couples in the First State.
“Even for people who live in Delaware and of necessity had to travel to states that did not recognize our most important relationships, this is a tremendous day that’s says that not only does our home state recognize and value our relationships but now every state will have to recognize those relationships.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy, seen as a pivotal swing vote in the case, wrote the majority opinion.
The justices ruled 5-4 that states cannot deny gay men and lesbians the same marriage rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.
Goodman adds that today’s ruling is a big win for gay couples in states that do not yet recognize gay marriage.
“For citizens in those states this ruling means that their families will be treated with the same dignity and respect and have the same legal protections that any other family has in America.”
In July, Delaware will recognize the second anniversary of marriage equality in the First State. In 2013, Delaware was the 11th state to allow marriage for same sex couples.
In a statement, Gov. Jack Markell (D-Delaware) applauded the Supreme Court following the lead of Delaware and other state's that passed marriage equality legislation.
"“The Supreme Court’s decision affirms what Delaware recognized in our state’s successful push for marriage equality. Equality under the law means honoring the loving relationships of all couples and their families," said Markell in his statement. " I’m proud that today our country has taken another important step in our unending quest to live up to our values and become a more perfect union.”
Delaware's congressional delegation also unanimously supported the Supreme Court's decision.
“At its core, marriage is about love and commitment, and the Supreme Court affirmed that today. I can't think of anything more basic -- or more important to the pursuit of happiness -- than having the right to marry the person you love," said Rep. John Carney in a statement. "This fundamental joy has been denied to couples across the country for too long. Today’s decision rights that wrong."
“I’m a big believer in the golden rule – that we must treat others the way we want to be treated. I’m proud the Supreme Court incorporated this value in its decision that same-sex marriage is constitutional," said Delaware's senior senator, Tom Carper (D-Delaware) in a statement. "All Americans now have the right to marry the person they love. I believe that our highest court is on the right side of history on this issue, and it is my hope that the American public will embrace this historic decision.”
“I’m reminded that this case represents the culmination of so much dedication, passion, and advocacy on behalf of all LGBTQ Americans and their loved ones,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) in a statement. “It also reminds us that, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."